Stewart and Gabryszak celebrate top six finishes in Altenberg
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Stewart and Gabryszak celebrate top-six finishes in Altenberg
ALTENBERG, Germany (Jan. 12, 2013) —Husband and wife duo Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.) and Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) once again led the U.S. Intercontinental Cup team, but this time on foreign soil. Stewart posted sixth and fifth place finishes in the men’s races, and Gabryszak joined him on the podium after the first women’s race with a fifth place in Altenberg.
“I’m super proud of Brad, and it’s awesome to be able to compete together,” Gabryszak said.
Stewart led the U.S. men in his World Cup debut in Altenberg last weekend, and he felt fortunate to have another chance to race on one of the world’s most notoriously challenging tracks. The top six finishers are awarded medals, and Stewart was tied for sixth after the first heat yesterday with Russian Andrey Svistov. Stewart managed to overtake Svistov by just one-hundredth of a second to claim the final podium position with a combined time of 1:58.58.
“After last week I had a good understanding of the track but needed to clean up a few spots and really work on flowing with the track,” Stewart said. “Even though I felt good during training I wasn’t quite there with the speeds yet, so I was really happy to break the tie and finish sixth.”
Stewart said he felt he had “escaped with a top six” after watching his competitors post speedy second runs in the first race and was anxious going into the second race. He bottled his nerves and used them to his advantage by racing to the finish with the fourth fastest time of the first run. A critical error down the track prevented Stewart from moving into the top three, but his total time of 1:55.70 kept him on the podium in fifth.
“Once again I bobbled the transition between corners four and five, which dropped some time,” Stewart said. “That error is usually a grave yard for time, so I was actually OK with it since it was still a personal best time and it only dropped me one spot.”
Alexander Gassner dominated the men’s races on his home track to claim double gold with total times of 1:55.67 and 1:54.64. Ben Sandford from New Zealand, a regular on the World Cup medal stand, trailed Gassner by almost one second in the first race to earn silver, and was today’s bronze medalist. Axel Jungk from Germany traded places with Sandford, finishing third and second in the two-race series.
This week was the first time Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) has trained on the Altenberg track. Santagato posted his personal best times in the races and finished 16th and 13th.
“This track is too technical to come here for the first time and compete with the veterans who’ve been here for many years,” said U.S. coach Brian McDonald. “I’ll take Tom’s result today with a big smile.”
Mike Dellemann (Oregon, Wisc.) crashed out of curve four during a training run, and U.S. coach Brian McDonald opted on the side of caution by sitting Dellemann out of the Altenberg races.
Gabryszak injured her quadriceps during training earlier in the week and wasn’t sure if she’d be competitive by race day. The veteran athlete pulled it together to lead the U.S. women.
“With such a long start, I thought the races might have been over before they began,” Gabryszak said. “I was sliding well, babied the muscle, and tried to keep my chin up.”
Despite her hindered start times, Gabryszak was able to race to the finish with the fifth fastest time of the first heat. A few errors in the second heat weren’t enough to cost her a spot, and her total time of 2:02.54 placed her on the podium beside her husband after the first day of racing.
Gabryszak posted a personal record after powering off the start block in 5.97 seconds to kick off the second competition today, but a major mistake early on the course gave her only the 14th fastest time of the first run. She managed to move up three spots into 11th after the final heat with a combined time of 2:01.10.
“My run started off amazing,” Gabryszak said. “Then I crashed out of curve four and rode my side through curve five. I put it out of my mind and had a stellar second run that was another personal best, this one by over a second. It was only enough to move me up to 11th, but I am still happy to end on a good run.”
Gabryszak is battling the Russian women to earn a third spot in upcoming World Championships. She must finish ahead of the third ranked Russian woman in international points in order to earn her spot.
“Having that pressure on you each and every run is tough,” McDonald said. “She’ll head into Winterberg knowing a top performance will be needed to get there. It will be fun watching her earn it.”
Germans Katharina Heinz and Tina Hermann split the victories. Heinz claimed gold yesterday with a total time of 2:01.65, while Hermann won today in 1:59.44.
British athlete Donna Creighton trailed Heinz by 0.32 seconds yesterday to earn silver, while another German, Kathleen Lorenz, was third. Heinz was second to Hermann today, and Canadian Micaela Widmer was third.
Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) is now nursing a pulled quadriceps, which McDonald said is “typical after knee surgery.” O’Shea finished 15th and 17th with total times of 2:04.06 and 2:02.55.
“Annie is doing a great job grinding it out this season,” McDonald said. “I keep asking her to keep the bigger picture in mind and so far she has. She’s quite the warrior.”
Athletes will get nearly a two-week break before the ninth and final Intercontinental Cup race in Winterberg, Germany on Jan. 23rd.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
Men’s skeleton race #1
1. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:55.67 (57.88, 57.79); 2. Ben Sandford (NZL) 1:56.66 (58.47, 58.19); 3. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:56.69 (58.55, 58.14);…6. Brad Stewart (USA) 1:58.58 (59.45, 59.13);…16. Tom Santagato (USA) 2:01.16 (1:01.05, 1:00.11);
Men’s skeleton race #2
1. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:54.64 (57.37, 57.27); 2. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:55.25 (57.76, 57.49); 3. Ben Sandford (NZL) 1:56.25 (58.20, 58.05);…5. Brad Stewart (USA) 1:56.70 (58.37, 58.33);…13. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:59.16 (59.25, 59.91);
Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Katharina Heinz (GER) 2:01.65 (1:00.89, 1:00.76); 2. Donna Creighton (GBR) 2:01.97 (1:00.83, 1:01.14); 3. Kathleen Lorenz (GER) 2:02.03 (1:00.99, 1:01.04);…5. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 2:02.54 (1:01.20, 1:01.34)…15. Annie O’Shea (USA) 2:04.06 (1:01.94, 1:02.12);
Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Tina Hermann (GER) 1:59.44 (59.63, 59.81); 2. Katharina Heinz (GER) 1:59.84 (1:00.10, 59.74); 3. Micaela Widmer (CAN) 2:00.05 (1:00.08, 59.97);..11. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 2:01.10 (1:01.05, 1:00.05);…17. Annie O’Shea (USA) 2:02.55 (1:01.28, 1:01.27);
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, WIDIA, Latta USA, Azad Watches, 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.