Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
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Rookie Evans clinches women’s bobsled push title
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Oct. 5, 2012)- Rookie athlete Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) powered off the block with the two fastest times to claim the 2012 U.S. National Women’s Bobsled Push Championship title on the wheeled push track in Lake Placid, N.Y. today. Evans battled a mixed field of 16 accomplished rookies and veterans to earn gold.
“I was so anxious and nervous about doing everything right,” Evans said. “I’m still trying to understand what right is, but I know I’ll be a better judge of that once I keep practicing and learning. This is different than anything I’m used to, so I’m trying not to rush anything while still going out there and pushing hard every time.”
Evans burst off the block for push times of 4.84 and 4.81 seconds to earn the title by 0.13 seconds with a total of 9.65. Evans is a five-time All-American and three-time Big Ten Champion track and field athlete from the University of Illinois, and will get her first ride in a bobsled when the track opens in Lake Placid next week.
“I’m so looking forward to it,” Evans said. “I’m a little spooked based on stories I’ve heard about the first trip in a sled, but I’m glad my first ride will be in Lake Placid, which I’ve heard is the toughest. If I can get through that, I think I’ll be fine.”
Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) pushed times of 4.88 and 4.94 seconds for a combined time of 9.78 to earn second place.
“I’m definitely still learning,” Eberling said. “I’ve had a great summer of training and a really supportive training group. I’ve been on the push track a lot, so I’ve been able to improve my technique.”
Eberling won last year’s push contest as a rookie standout, and went on to earn several international medals, including the World Championship bronze medal with pilot Elana Meyers in Lake Placid. With one year of experience, Eberling feels better prepared for the upcoming competitive season.
“I’m just so excited to get on ice,” Eberling said. “We have a tremendous group of athletes here, which is only going to make me better. We’ve been waiting all summer, and I can’t wait to get back into competition. Now I know what to do to prepare for competition, and I’m ready to go hard every day.”
University of California track and field athlete Cherrelle Garrett (Hayward, Calif.) took some time off from competition after graduating, and was immediately excited to try the sport of bobsled when approached by a coach.
“When I heard about bobsled, I thought, ‘This is something I can do,’” Garrett said. “Look at all of these great athletes here; I’m so excited to be here. It feels like this is where I should be.”
After five days on the push track, Garrett clinched third with a combined time of 9.99 seconds after clocking runs of 5.02 and 4.97 seconds. The next step for the rookie is to get in a sled next week.
“I am really looking forward to getting down on the ice,” Garrett said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I know I’m going to enjoy this experience. All of the athletes on the team have really helped push me, so I’ve been working hard and I have high hopes of doing well. Today boosted my confidence, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Women's bobsled head coach Todd Hays invited track and field medalists Hyleas Fountain, Tianna Madison and Lolo Jones to Lake Placid to participate in the drills and tests with the women's team. Madison helped the U.S. win the first Olympic gold medal since 1996 in the women's 4x100-meter relay after the team posted a world-record time of 40.82 seconds in London. Jones, a two-time World Indoor Champion and American record holder, finished fourth in London's 100-meter hurdles event, while Fountain is the Beijing Olympic silver medalist in heptathlon.
"I invited these ladies to attend this week's events as special guests so they could share their Olympic experiences with our athletes and to help boost team morale before heading into our competitive season," Hays said. "It's great to see talented athletes like this give back to their USA teammates. And it's of course a great opportunity for a coach like me to test his recruitment skills by trying to get these athletes to commit to our sports. I'm not successful yet, but we'll see if we can entice them to give it a try."
Fountain was on the cusp of a top three finish with a total time of 10.01 seconds for fourth place. Madison tied veteran Emily Azevedo for fifth with a two-push combined time of 10.04, and Jones finished seventh with a total time of 10.11.
Coaches and pilots will select teams for upcoming selection races based on push athlete combine test scores and push championship results.
Competition continues tomorrow with the men’s bobsled push championships at 10 am. For media inquiries please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250.
1. Aja Evans 9.65 (4.84, 4.81); 2. Katie Eberling 9.78 (4.88, 4.94); 3. Cherrelle Garrett 9.99 (5.02, 4.97); 4. Hyleas Fountain 10.01 (5.00, 5.01); 5. Emily Azevedo 10.04 (5.01, 5.03); 5. Tianna Madison 10.04 (5.03, 5.01); 7. Lolo Jones 10.11 (5.07, 5.04); 7. Maureen Ajoku 10.11 (5.04, 5.07); 9. Tracey Stewart 10.13 (5.09, 5.04); 10. Kristi Koplin 10.15 (5.007, 5.08); 11. Ida Bernstein 10.18 (5.07, 5.11); 12. Brittany Reinbolt 10.30 (5.14, 5.16); 13. Nicole Vogt 10.66 (5.33, 5.33); 14. Katie Steingraber 10.73 (5.36, 5.37); 15. Micaela Damas 10.79 (5.39, 5.40); 16. Sinead Corley 10.84 (5.35, 5.49);
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, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.