Olympians West, Britcher, Mortensen/Terdiman Win USA Luge Start Championships

By Gary R. Blockus | Sept. 15, 2017, 11:44 p.m. (ET)
Tucker West prepares to compete at the 2016 FIL World Cup on Dec. 16, 2016 in Park City, Utah.

 

Tucker West and Summer Britcher, lugers who competed at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 before first competing at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, won the men’s and women’s races at the 2017 Norton Start Championships at the indoor refrigerated training complex in Lake Placid, New York, on Friday night.

West, from Ridgefield, Connecticut, won the start championship for the sixth straight year. A Union College student, he set two ramp records in his three ramp runs and placed first in the fourth run, the reaction gate ramp.

He edged two-time Olympian Chris Madzder and rising junior national team member Jonny Gustafson, who competed on the senior world cup level for the first time last year. Madzder finished in the top three in the overall world cup standings two seasons ago, just the second U.S. male to reach the podium.

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Britcher, from Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, won the women’s competition, setting ramp records on her three runs before blazing through a 1.609 in the reaction gates. She looked strong coming off a shoulder injury that slowed her 2016-17 season, defeating Grace Weinberg, who took second, and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, who won a U.S.-record three world championship medals and two world cups last season.

In doubles, Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman, who competed in Sochi with different partners, beat Jake Hyrns and Anthony Espinoza by four-hundredths of a second over four runs. Andrew Sherk and Justin Krewson came in third.

Team race-offs begin in October and will be held in Calgary, Alberta; Whistler, British Columbia; and Lake Placid.

The first five stops of 2017-18 world cup luge tour runs through December, when the tour goes to Lake Placid Dec. 15-16 and is followed by the official nomination of the 10 athletes who will represent Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.