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U.S. concludes Intercontinental Cup tour with three top-10 finishes
WINTERBERG, Germany (Jan. 23, 2013) —The Intercontinental Cup tour concluded today with the ninth and final race of the season in Winterberg, Germany. The U.S. team posted three top-10 finishes in Winterberg, and wrapped up the season with six medals.
“There were certainly some highs and lows this year, but the highs are what we will build on going into the Olympic year,” said U.S. Intercontinental Cup coach Brian McDonald. “I expect the most competitive team trials ever next fall.”
Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) met up with the Intercontinental Cup team following the Igls, Austria World Cup race in an effort to earn a third spot for the men’s team in the upcoming World Championships. Tress had to finish ahead of the third ranked Russian, Anton Batuev, in order to race in Worlds. Tress’ teammate, Tom Santagato, gave up his spot on the U.S. roster so Tress could race.
“I really have to commend Tom for being such a good sport and teammate,” McDonald said. “He understood it was in the best interest of the team for Kyle to replace him, and that a rising tide lifts all boats. I just want to thank him for being a team player.”
Tress trailed Batuev by 0.07 seconds after crossing the finish line in 57.99 seconds in the first heat. He bettered his time in the second run by 0.16 seconds, but Batuev picked up the pace by a quarter of a second in the final heat. Batuev finished fifth to assure the third spot in World Championships for the Russians, while Tress finished eighth to lead the U.S. squad with a total time of 1:55.82.
German Alexander Gassner secured the men’s Intercontinental Cup title after earning seven medals out of nine events, including five victories. One of those victories was today, when Gassner slid a combined time of 1:54.42 to lead the field by 0.35 seconds.
Dave Greszczyszyn from Canada clocked a total time of 1:54.77 to finish second today to guarantee third place in Intercontinental Cup standings. German Axel Jungk claimed bronze with a two-run total of 1:54.94, and finished just ahead of Greszczyszyn in points to finish second overall.
Mike Dellemann (Oregon, Wisc.) slid a combined time of 1:56.00 for 10th place. Dellemann, just a third-year competitor, made some minor errors in the first run, but he said it was “nothing to complain about; we were all packed in in there pretty tightly with only a few hundredths separating me from the top ten.” He bettered his run in the final heat by nearly half a second to move up three spots to finish 10th in today’s race and in overall standings.
“This was a great way to end the season,” Dellemann said. “It has been such a joy traveling around seeing all the sights and meeting great people. I can’t believe it’s over though, it went so fast.”
Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.) had a career-best season, but was disappointed to conclude the series with a 15th place finish today. Stewart posted runs of 58.40 and 58.14 seconds for a combined time of 1:56.54.
“I really struggle with finding speed on this track,” Stewart said. “I felt like I put the two best runs of my career together here, but was just slow. It’s just a mystery to me."
Stewart made his World Cup debut this season and earned his first-ever Intercontinental Cup medal in the December Park City race. He wrapped up the season ranked seventh.
“It’s been an exhausting season, but it’s been my best by a landslide,” Stewart said. “Four podium finishes, a medal, a bunch of track and start personal best times, a World Cup race, and my highest international rank. It was everything I had hoped to achieve at the beginning of this season.”
Stewart’s wife, Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah), led the U.S. women with a ninth place finish today. Gabryszak was in sixth after a first run of 59.18 seconds, but made a few minor errors that added up throughout the final run to bump her into ninth with a total time of 1:58.45.
“Winterberg is a baffling track,” Gabryszak said. “I was sliding smoothly but slow during training. It was so frustrating because all of my runs felt great. While it’s disappointing to finish off the podium, this is the first time I’ve ever meshed with Winterberg and even been in the mix on this track, so I’m leaving on a good note.”
Gabryszak also concludes a career-best season after earning two gold medals in Park City last month. The veteran slider raced in seven of the nine races this season and finished eighth overall in Intercontinental Cup standings. Unfortunately, Gabryszak was unable to surpass Russian Olga Potylitsina in combined international points and did not qualify a third sled for the women in the upcoming World Championships.
“I’m still happy and had a great season,” Gabryszak said. “I feel more comfortable on my sled, I’m pushing faster, and had personal best times on tracks that I previously struggled on like Igls and Winterberg. I also had my first wins, and I know that next season is another opportunity to get on the podium.”
German Katharina Heinz posted a combined time of 1:57.44 to secure her third gold medal of the season and the women’s Intercontinental Cup title.
British athlete Laura Deas trailed Heinz by 0.36 seconds to earn her second medal of the season. Canadian Robynne Thompson raced to the finish in 1:57.81 for third, and finished second overall. Rose McGrandle from Great Britain finished sixth today, but earned enough points throughout the season to finish second overall in Intercontinental Cup points.
Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) concluded a trying season today. O’Shea was on the road to recovery following knee surgery last summer, and battled numerous small injuries throughout the season. O’Shea finished 15th in Winterberg with a combined time of 1:59.07, and 12th in Intercontinental Cup points.
“I’m excited to be heading home, because it’s been a really difficult season for me physically and mentally,” O’Shea said. “I had my two best runs on my sled today and it’s those little things that are helping me stay positive. When I think back to team trials in October I could barely walk let alone bend my knee. I made it through the entire season and I’m leaving feeling better then when I started. I’m ready to work hard this offseason and come back even better than I was before knee surgery.”
The Intercontinental Cup and European Cup tours have wrapped up their competitive seasons. World Championships kick off two weeks of racing in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Friday before moving on to the final World Cup event on the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi, Russia next month. The North American Cup will be the final circuit to conclude in Lake Placid, N.Y. this March.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:54.42 (57.31, 57.11); 2. Dave Greszczyszyn (CAN) 1:54.77 (57.43, 57.34); 3. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:54.94 (57.48, 57.46);…8. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:55.82 (57.99, 57.83);…10. Mike Dellemann (USA) 1:56.00 (58.24, 57.76);…15. Brad Stewart (USA) 1:56.54 (58.40, 58.14);
1. Katharina Heinz (GER) 1:57.44 (58.74, 58.70); 2. Laura Deas (GBR) 1:57.80 (58.84, 58.96); 3. Robynne Thompson (CAN) 1:57.81 (59.03, 58.78);…9. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:58.45 (59.18, 59.27);…15. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:59.07 (59.74, 59.33);
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