Sylvia Hoffman pushes a bobsled in Lake Placid, N.Y.
In a field filled with bobsled veterans, including Olympians, as well as rookies, the 2018 USA Bobsled National Push Championships saw four first-time winners crowned champions on Friday in Lake Placid, New York.
Sylvia Hoffman followed up her victory in August at the rookie push championships with the women’s push title while Josh Williamson won the men’s division. Briauna Jones took the title in the women’s driver/monobob competition and Frankie Del Duca was the top men’s driver in the annual competition where the pieces for the upcoming sliding season begin to fall into place.
Hoffman is a 29-year-old former basketball player at Louisiana State and a competitive weightlifter, and those skills have carried over impressively into the world of bobsled. The women got three tries, dropping the slowest time to earn an overall score, and Hoffman beat Olympic silver medalist Lauren Gibbs by just one-tenth of a second.
Hoffman finished with a time of 9.69, followed by Gibbs in 9.79 and Jones in 9.80.
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Olympians Christopher Kinney (13.10 seconds) and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (13.14 seconds) finished in second and third place, respectively.
The women’s driver/monobob competition was a little different. Women’s monobob will make its debut at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and for the competition athletes took one push from the driver’s bar and one from the monobob brake position. Jones had a best score of 9.22 seconds, followed by Lake Kwaza with a time of 9.34 seconds. Three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, still recovering from an offseason injury, in third with 9.36 seconds. Jones was a 2018 Olympic replacement athlete and will transition to driver this season.
The men’s driver competition had athletes pushing both heats from the driver’s bar, with two-time national team member Del Duca finishing with a time of 7.82 seconds. It was just enough to edge three-time Olympian and 2010 gold medalist Justin Olsen, with a time of 7.84 seconds, and Sam Moeller, who played football at Texas A&M, with a time of 7.96 seconds.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.