USA Luge announces 2017 summer national training group
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – After competitions last winter and spring, USA Luge has named a pool of 17 athletes for its 2017 summer training group. The 10 members of the Pyeongchang Olympic team will qualify from this initial pool of racers.
Three men and three women will represent the United States in singles next February, along with two doubles teams.
The summer national team is comprised of:
--Matt Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Jayson Terdiman, of Berwick, Pa. Top U.S. sled in 2016-2017 World Cup, finishing third in the final standings, in just their third season together; won three World Cup medals last year and World Championship silver in team relay; both raced with different teammates through Sochi Games; became a team in March 2014; seeking second Olympic berth.
--Jake Hyrns, of Muskegon, Mich. and Anthony Espinoza, of Park City, Utah. Entering third season as a team; 15th place in 2016-2017 World Cup rankings; closed the season with their two best career results (ninth and sixth places); seeking first Olympic berth.
--Justin Krewson, of Eastport, N.Y. and Andrew Sherk, of Fort Washington, Pa. Nine top 15s in last year’s World Cup and World Championships in just their second season; 16th in 2016-2017 World Cup circuit; seeking first Olympic berth.
--Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, N.Y. Three-time Olympian; Sochi bronze medalist; fourth in last year’s World Cup standings, including two victories; winner of three World Championship medals in 2017 (gold and two silver), a team record, for a total of four after 2009 world title.
--Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn. Finished sixth in the 2016-2017 World Cup standings, highlighted by two silver medals; 2013 Junior World Champion; raced last season with wrist ailment; seeks first Olympic berth.
--Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa. Coming off a season where she raced with an injured shoulder; 10th in last season’s World Cup tour, highlighted by a pair of fourth place finishes; held the World Cup lead into Christmas 2015 after piling up three gold and two bronze medals in succession; seeks second Olympic berth.
--Raychel Germaine, of Roswell, Ga. Has raced two seasons in the World Cup; two ninth place results last season; winner of Park City Nations Cup; father Bob Germaine was a national team athlete; underwent shoulder surgery in spring 2016; seeks first Olympic berth.
--Brittney Arndt, of Park City, Utah. Junior World Cup racer, has never raced at World Cup level; fourth last year in Junior World Cup rankings, with one victory; swept spring 2016 Norton Junior National Championships and seeding races; did not compete in spring 2017 series due to injury; seeks first Olympic berth.
--Ashley Farquharson, of Park City, Utah. Finished third in the Youth A World Cup standings in 2016-2017, with two bronze medals to start the year; swept Norton Youth and Junior National Championships in 2016; seeks first Olympic berth.
--Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Conn. Sochi Olympian; two World Cup wins last year for a career total of three; Finished seventh in the season-long standings; Silver medal in World Championship team relay; one of the quickest starters in the world; seeks second Olympic berth.
--Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y. Two-time Olympian; third in 2015-2016 overall World Cup standings (third man in U.S. history to finish top three); underwent shoulder surgery in spring 2016; 11th in the World Cup last winter; 10 career World Cup medals, six of them in 2015-2016; seeks third Olympic berth.
--Taylor Morris, of South Jordan, Utah. Career best fifth place in 2017 World Championship sprint race; World Cup career best is seventh place; silver medal in 2013 U23 World Championships; seeks first Olympic berth
--Jonny Gustafson, of Massena, N.Y. Raced onto the 2016-2017 World Cup team as a member of the U.S. Junior National Team; one of the quickest starters in the world; sixth place in 2017 U23 World Championships; 2015 Norton Junior National Champion; seeks first Olympic berth.
--John Fennell, of Calgary, Alberta. Dual citizen who came to USA Luge in spring 2016; Trained mostly in Lake Placid in 2016-2017; seventh in 2012 Youth Olympic Games; raced for Canada in the Sochi Olympics; seeks second Olympic berth, first with the U.S.
Two men who were named to this training group, subsequently decided to step out of the sport.
USA Luge announced the retirement of Sochi Olympian Aidan Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y. Kelly said he was officially leaving his position on the national team and the sport of luge.
Riley Stohr, of Whitehall, Mich., has also told team officials he was leaving the sport.
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By virtue of her individual silver medal in the 2017 World Championship singles race, Hamlin is exempt from qualifying for the fall World Cup team. All others must compete for their positions in the fall Norton seeding series, to be held in Calgary, Whistler and Lake Placid in October. Those dates are to be determined.
The November and December World Cup squad will consist of up to five men, four women and three doubles teams.
There will be five World Cup events prior to Christmas, culminating with the Lake Placid races on Dec. 15-16. Those results will determine the 10 athletes to be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee for the Games in Pyeongchang.
The 10 competitors will be officially unveiled in a gala USA Luge celebration at the Conference Center at Lake Placid on the night of Dec. 16. It will be open to the public. Entry fee to be determined.