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Tress concludes season with silver and bronze medals
PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 11, 2012)– The Intercontinental Cup tour wrapped up the 2011-2012 season with a two-race series on Friday and Saturday on the 2002 Olympic track in Park City, Utah. The finale was more than a contest for gold, but a race for points to qualify a third sled for the U.S. team at 2012 World Championships. World Cup athletes Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) and Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) slid solid performances, including silver and bronze medal performances from Tress, but were unable to accumulate the needed points to qualify.
“It was great wrapping up the tour on our home track and seeing the U.S. flag raised for the second week in a row,” said Brian McDonald, U.S. coach. “We had a season of ups and downs, but we are developing new talent in our program that will represent the U.S. at the elite level well past Sochi 2014. Championship quality talent is not developed overnight, so my advice to these new sliders was to learn, race hard and have fun. They did just that, and I am proud to have spent another season coaching this team.”
Tress needed to surpass Russian Anton Batuev in international points in order for him to have his name entered on the 2012 World Championship roster. The veteran U.S. athlete navigated to the finish in 1:40.48 to claim bronze the first day with Batuev four positions behind in seventh. Tress still needed to gain 38 points in order to spring ahead of the Russian in points. Tress bettered his performance by posting a two-run total of 1:39.96 for silver, but Batuev was too close in fifth position for Tress to overtake him in rank.
“It’s always a great feeling to stand on the podium,” Tress said. “There are a lot of great competitors on the Intercontinental Cup circuit. However, that feeling is mixed with sadness and frustration, because I fell 20 points short of qualifying for World Championships. The only thing I can do moving forward is to learn from this and use it as motivation for the future.”
Tress also thanked Greg West, who gave up his spot on the Intercontinental Cup team to allow John Daly and Tress the opportunity to gain valuable points over the last two weeks. Tress remained upbeat, and said he’s looking forward to returning to Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the World Championships, to provide support to his teammates as they vie for the crown.
The same three men medaled in the two-race finale. World Cup veteran Michi Halilovic from Germany was victorious in both competitions by solid margins. Halilovic’s total time of 1:40.24 put him 0.22 seconds in the lead yesterday, and his combined time of 1:39.61 was 0.35 seconds ahead of the field today. Canadian Charles Wlodarczak finished 0.02 seconds ahead of Tress to claim silver with an aggregate time of 1:40.46, but Tress was able to overtake Wlodarczak by 0.12 seconds the final day.
Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) posted a career best Intercontinental Cup result after clocking a two-run total of 1:41.34 for eighth place yesterday, and he finished 12th in today’s finale.
“The last time I raced in Park City was during team trials last year, and I’m pretty sure I came in last both races,” Santagato said. “Finishing eighth in an Intercontinental Cup race was definitely a huge improvement. My runs weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, but I can’t be disappointed with the way things turned out.”
Luke Schulz (Davenport, N.D.) slid to the finish in 1:41.59 and 1:41.03 for ninth and 10th place finishes, respectively.
“I’m happy the season is over,” Schulz said. “This was a really challenging season for me. I never felt like anything clicked from the first day of sliding this year. I’m looking forward to going back to the drawing board and figuring out what I can do better for next year.”
Despite leading the U.S. women in the final series of Intercontinental Cup races, Gabryszak was disheartened with her results. Like Tress, Gabryszak was battling the third ranked Russian woman for points to earn her spot in World Championships, but she was unable to garner enough points to make the necessary leap in standings. Gabryszak said she slid four flawless runs, but she was unable to find speed down the course and could only assemble combined times of 1:43.77 and 1:42.79 for 11th and ninth place finishes.
“Obviously I’m disappointed since it’s my home track and I hoped to place closer to the top,” Grabyrszak said. “Over the last two days I’ve had some of the most perfectly frustrating runs. They were smooth, relaxed, clean and very solid runs that were just ineffably slow. I came across the finish line and was absolutely stunned by the slow times. The silver lining is that I now have a few more weeks on this track to train and try different things. Next time it’ll be a different story.”
Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) raced to 13th and 14th place finishes to conclude her first competitive season with combined times of 1:43.91 and 1:43.88, respectively. Graybill made gains in her sliding while competing on the 2002 Olympic track for only the second time in her short career.
British athlete Rose McGrandle swept the Park City races, although she had to fight a talented field for the victory. McGrandle came from behind in both competitions to earn double gold with combined times of 1:42.15 and 1:42.03.
Reigning Olympic champion Amy Williams returned to racing after taking a few weeks off to spend time with her newborn nephew. Williams trailed her British teammate by 0.16 seconds to claim silver in the first race, but failed to medal today.
Germany’s Sophia Griebel posted a two-run total of 1:42.61 for bronze the first race, and was just 0.02 seconds off McGrandle’s pace to earn silver today. Jacqueline Lölling, also from Germany, denied Williams the podium by finishing third with a combined time of 1:42.10 in the final Intercontinental Cup race of the season.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
Men’s race #1
1. Michi Halilovic (GER) 1:40.24 (50.33, 49.91); 2. Charles Wlodarczak (CAN) 1:40.46 (50.43, 50.03); 3. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:40.48 (50.52, 49.96);…8. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:41.34 (50.77, 50.57); 9. Luke Schulz (USA) 1:41.59 (50.86, 50.73);
Men’s race #2
1. Michi Halilovic (GER) 1:39.61 (49.65, 49.96); 2. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:39.96 (50.00, 49.96); 3. Charles Wlodarczak (CAN) 1:40.08 (49.98, 50.10);…10. Luke Schulz (USA) 1:41.03 (50.38, 50.65);…12. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:41.15 (50.75, 50.40);
Women’s race #1
1. Rose McGrandle (GBR) 1:42.15 (51.27, 50.88); 2. Amy Williams (GBR) 1:42.31 (51.25, 51.06); 3. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:42.61 (51.50, 51.11);…11. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:43.77 (52.12, 51.65);…13. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:43.91 (52.09, 51.82);
Women’s race #2
1. Rose McGrandle (GBR) 1:42.03 (51.22, 50.81); 2. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:42.05 (51.21, 50.84); 3. Jacqueline Lölling (GER) 1:42.10 (51.21, 50.89);…9. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:42.79 (51.38, 51.41);…14. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:43.88 (52.11, 51.77);
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