Cunningham and Butner sweep America's Cup finale to earn titles
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Cunningham and Butner sweep America’s Cup finale to earn titles
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (April 1, 2012)- Men’s bobsled pilots Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Cory Butner (Yucapia, Calif.) swept the America’s Cup titles after collecting six medals in the finale at Mt. Van Hoevenberg this weekend. Cunningham was named the overall point leader and the two-man bobsled champion, while Butner claimed the four-man bobsled title. The U.S. pocketed 10 medals in the final event to cap the 2011-2012 season with a grand total of 44 podium finishes, 27 of which were captured by Cunningham and Butner.
“The most rewarding thing about this season for me was watching these two pilots develop for six months of their careers,” said Mike Dionne, U.S. America’s Cup bobsled coach. “Being a part of that is pretty special. Competiveness breeds excellence, and we’re moving in a direction where every team we enter in a competition can medal. These two emerging pilots show the depth and strength of our program.”
Cunningham and Butner started the season with the same goal: earn a third spot for the U.S. in the 2012 World Championships. Both pilots kept the team on top of the podium throughout the America’s Cup tour to accumulate enough points for the squad to earn a third spot for worlds. Cunningham was selected to pilot that third sled, and he posted impressive ninth and 13th place finishes in his debut. The now veteran driver said it was difficult getting back into the rhythm of sliding after taking a brief break following the conclusion of worlds four weeks ago.
“It’s been a very long season with a lot of ups and downs,” Cunningham said. “The first two-man race was hard for me to get back into race mode. After worlds and a couple of weeks off, I was caught in a bit of a funk. It really showed the depth of the race and competitors, because I wasn’t able to break into the top two when I wasn’t at the top of my game.”
Cunningham teamed with his season long partner and first year slider Kevin Ives (Stafford, Va.) to earn bronze in the first two-man race held on Friday after clocking a total time of 1:53.30.
“My first season has been an incredible experience,” Ives said. “It has been an honor to be able to compete for the USA and race against great athletes from other countries. It’s been a fun and long journey this year, but it has been nice to wrap up the year with some hardware.”
Canadians Chris Spring and Timothy Randall were victorious with a combined time of 1:53.19. The win was a double victory for Spring, who sustained severe injuries after a crash during training for the Altenberg, Germany World Cup event in January. The Lake Placid America’s Cup race was the first time Spring was back in action since his injury.
Ivo de Bruin and Bror van der Zijde from the Netherlands posted the fastest time of the first run, but the crew dropped 0.04 seconds behind the Canadians in the final heat for silver medal position.
Junior pilot Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) teamed with Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.) for fourth place in the first two-man race. Jay Noller (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Thomas White (Dallas, Texas) finished sixth, while juniors Jake Peterson (Princeton, Minn.) and Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.) teamed together for seventh place.
Cunningham was back in race mode for Saturday’s two-man bobsled season finale. Cunningham teamed with Clark to dominate the competition with the fastest runs of the day to snag the victory by 0.87 seconds. Cunningham secured his overall title by winning his third two-man bobsled gold medal of the season with a combined time of 1:52.11.
“I got it back together in the second two-man race and was able to team with Adam to take away the gold medal,” Cunningham said. “Kevin really helped me all season and kept me on the podium in every two-man race this season to help us win the overall two-man title.”
Spring and Randall trailed USA-1 to earn silver, while de Bruin and van der Zijde were third with a total time of 1:53.41. Bascue teamed with Ives to miss the podium by just 0.13 seconds for fourth place again. Noller and White finished fifth, while Peterson teamed with dual bobsled and skeleton athlete Jeremy Ware (Nashville, Tenn.) for seventh place.
Butner spent the week preparing for the four-man event and raced to double gold medals en route to claiming the America’s Cup title. Butner teamed with Laszlo Vandracsek (Phoenix, Ariz.), Clark and Taylor to finish 0.15 seconds ahead of Cunningham’s crew in both competitions. Butner led USA-1 to the finish in 1:51.53 for the first victory, and clocked a combined time of 1:51.78 to earn the final gold medal of the season.
“It always feels good to win, and it’s always an honor to represent the U.S.,” Butner said. “Racing against Nick all year has also helped me to progress quickly, because we’re always challenging each other to see who can win. This was a great way to end a season of highs and lows, and I think we’ve proved that the U.S. program has depth.”
Cunningham and his crew of Adam Blandford (West Chester, Ohio), Ives and Ware claimed silver both days to secure the combined two-man and four-man bobsled America’s Cup title. Yunjong Won, Sik Kim, Youngwoo Seo and Donghyun Kim earned two bronze medals for Korea.
Bascue teamed with Kazden Ikehara (North Pole, Alaska), Nathan Crumpton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Colin Coughlin (Fishkill, N.Y.) to again just miss the podium with two fourth places. Noller finished sixth in both four-man races with Erik Baker (Tonawanda, N.Y.), Eros Goulart (Lehi, Utah) and White.
This season concluded where next season will begin on the combined track in Lake Placid. Athletes have six months of offseason training before selections for the 2012-2013 season start.
“I’m looking forward to this offseason,” Butner said. “It’s time to get stronger and faster, and team trials next fall will be a battle. We’ll start back here in Lake Placid, so competing in the final America’s Cup on the track we’ll begin on is a great way to cap the season and provide some continuity leading into next year.”
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
Men’s Two-man Bobsled Race #1:
1. Chris Spring and Timothy Randall (CAN) 1:53.19 (56.82, 56.37); 2. Ivo deBruin and Bror van der Zijde (NED) 1:53.23 (56.62, 56.61); 3. Nick Cunningham and Kevin Ives (USA) 1:53.30 (56.74, 56.56); 4. Codie Bascue and Adam Clark (USA) 1:53.59 (56.72, 56.87);…6. Jay Noller and Thomas White (USA) 1:54.81 (57.03, 57.78); 7. Jake Peterson and Nicholas Taylor (USA) 1:54.94 (57.53, 57.41);
Men’s Two-man Bobsled Race #2:
1. Nick Cunningham and Adam Clark (USA) 1:52.11 (55.90, 56.21); 2. Chris Spring and Timothy Randall (CAN) 1:52.98 (56.43, 56.55); 3. Ivo deBruin and Bror van der Zijde (NED) 1:53.41 (56.93, 56.48); 4. Codie Bascue and Kevin Ives (USA) 1:53.54 (56.72, 56.82); 5. Jay Noller and Thomas White (USA) 1:54.44 (57.11, 57.33);…7. Jake Peterson and Jeremy Ware (USA) 1:54.60 (57.23, 57.37);
Men’s Four-man Bobsled Race #1:
1. Butner, Vandracsek, Clark and Taylor (USA) 1:51.53 (55.74, 55.79); 2. Cunningham, Blandford, Ives and Ware (USA) 1:51.68 (55.80, 55.88); 3. Won, Kim, Seo and Kim (KOR) 1:51.87 (55.90, 55.97); 4. Bascue, Ikehara, Crumpton and Coughlin (USA) 1:53.09 (56.56, 56.53);…6. Noller, Baker, Goulart and White (USA) 1:54.20 (57.11, 57.09);
Men’s Four-man Bobsled Race #2:
1. Butner, Vandracsek, Clark and Taylor (USA) 1:51.78 (55.88, 55.90); 2. Cunningham, Blandford, Ives and Ware (USA) 1:51.93 (55.80, 56.13); 3. Won, Suk, Seo and Kim (KOR) 1:52.30 (56.00, 56.30); 4. Bascue, Ikehara, Crumpton and Coughlin (USA) 1:53.44 (56.84, 56.60);…6. Noller, Baker, Goulart and White (USA) 1:54.44 (57.14, 57.30);
About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.