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U.S. bobsled North American Cup team wins 11 medals in Calgary
CALGARY, Alberta (Dec. 10, 2012)- The U.S. bobsled team won 11 medals in nine races held from Dec. 6-9 in Calgary’s North American Cup. Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) and Kristi Koplin (Cedar City, Utah) destroyed the field to sweep all three women’s bobsled competitions. Berit Tomten (Salt Lake City, Utah) teamed with Maureen Ajoku (San Jose, Calif.) to claim silver and bronze medals after just one season in the driver’s seat. Pilot Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) continued his medal winning tradition by claiming five medals, including one gold, in the men’s races this week, while Jake Peterson (Princeton, Minn.) contributed a bronze medal to the overall count.
Schaaf is on the comeback trail while recovering from hip surgery this offseason. The 2010 Olympian opted to compete on the North American circuit while completing a rehabilitation program to regain strength and speed. She said she’s gained more than strength, but also a refreshed perspective of the sport since racing with her new teammates.
“World cup is where years of dedication pay off, but the North American Cup is where you see the true heart that breeds it,” Schaaf said. “I am so impressed and proud of these girls I'm surrounded by. Some getting back in the sled crash after crash, others trying desperately to lose pounds to make weight in a crazy heavy rented sled. This is what makes bobsledders- that tenacity and heart.”
Schaaf claimed gold with Koplin in the first women’s race with an outstanding lead of 2.01 seconds. In a sport won by the hundredths of a second, a margin of victory measured by seconds is rare. The duo posted the fastest start and finish times to pocket their first win with a combined time of 1:55.01.
Canadian pilots Wendy Morrow and Kimberly Garside claimed silver and bronze medals respectively for the host nation with total times of 1:57.02 and 1:57.04.
Schaaf and Koplin continued their domination in the second race, winning by 1.28 seconds over teammates Tomten and Ajoku with a total time of 1:55.55. Tomten began driving just a year ago while Ajoku joined the team this season. Their second place finish was the first medal performance for Tomten.
“It was very exciting to get my first podium finish,” Tomten said. “I had a rough first run during the morning race and was able to clean up my runs for the afternoon race.”
Tomten and Ajoku clocked the fastest push times of the second competition, 5.95 and 5.94 seconds, to give them an advantage down the course.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better push time from Maureen,” Tomten said. “I knew that it was up to me to put together two consistent clean runs with the fantastic start she gave me to stay ahead of the Canadians on their home track.”
Garside earned the sole medal for the Canadians in the second race with a combined time of 1:56.88.
Schaaf and Koplin continued their winning streak by claiming the final women’s gold medal. The U.S. pair led by 1.66 seconds over Canadian driver Rosalyn Nykolichuk with a two-run total of 1:54.87, and posted the first and second fastest start times of the race.
“Kristi has been doing an incredible job,” Schaaf said. “Racing three races in a row is no small feat and she has been improving every heat.”
“It has been such a pleasure pushing with Bree,” Koplin added. “We are improving every day in our push and keeping the big picture in mind.”
Tomten and Ajoku raced to the finish in 1:56.93 to finish in third to earn their second medal of the event.
Bascue led the men’s team with five medal performances this week, and has collected 13 medals in 14 races so far this North American Cup season.
“To have 14 races between the end of October and Christmas and to do so well in all of them is something I thought was unthinkable,” Bascue said. “All of the push athletes that I’ve had have all performed up to my expectations and better most of the time, especially this week. Having six races in one week was tough, but we got through it and competed very well in all of them.”
Bascue started the Calgary series with a gold medal showing in the first two-man bobsled race with brakeman Sam Michener (Sioux Falls, S.D.). The duo slid a total time of 1:51.68 to lead by 0.34 seconds over World Cup Czech Republican pilot Jan Vrba. Canadian Brad Reinsch navigated his sled to the finish in 1:52.46 for third.
Vrba dominated from start to finish to claim gold with a two-run total of 1:51.75. Bascue and Thomas White (Dallas, Texas) were 0.16 seconds off the pace to earn silver. Peterson and Dakarai Kongela (Suquamish, Wash.) were on pace with their U.S. teammates to earn bronze with a total time of 1:52.02.
“This has been a very good week of racing,” Peterson said. “I have some stiff competition, but that just drives me to better my athletic and driving abilities. I am also very proud of my crew for how well they pushed this week and how well they have held up over six races.”
Vrba was the victor in the third two-man race with a combined time of 1:51.41, again edging out Bascue by a small margin. Bascue and Michener were 0.13 seconds off the pace for second, while Reinsch clocked a total time of 1:52.08 for third. Peterson and Kongela just missed the medals after finishing fourth.
Vrba was on a roll after tasting victory in the two-man events, and went on to sweep the four-man races. He clocked total times of 1:49.05, 1:48.89 and 1:48.18 to claim gold in all three competitions.
Milan Jagnesak from Slovakia was a stranger to the podium in two-man, but a fixture to the medal stand in the four-man races. Jagnesak claimed silver in all three competitions with two-run totals of 1:49.46, 1:49.37 and 1:48.40.
Bascue teamed with Pete Yemm (Overland Park, Kan.), White and Michener to claim bronze in the first and second race with a combined times of 1:50.28 and 1:49.86. Bascue’s team finished fifth after Canadian pilot Reinsch and U.S. teammate Peterson usurped them.
“I am extremely proud of how me and my teammates competed and carried ourselves in all of these races,” Bascue said. “To have that many competitions in so little time is tough for any athlete, but we all got through it and represented our country well. I am extremely excited to see what the rest of the season and the next season will bring. But as of right now, I’ve had an amazing start to this season.”
The skeleton North American Cup team wraps up their race series in Whistler, British Columbia tonight before the team unites once again in March for the final competition of the circuit in Lake Placid, N.Y. With the bobsled accolades in Calgary, the North American team has collected 38 medals to date.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
Women’s bobsled race #1:
1. Bree Schaaf and Kristi Koplin (USA) 1:55.01 (57.37, 57.64); 2. Wendy Morrow and Alysia Rissling (CAN) 1:57.02 (58.29, 58.73); 3. Kimberly Garside and Melissa Lowe (CAN) 1:57.04 (58.34, 58.70); 4. Berit Tomten and Sineaid Corley (USA) 1:57.30 (58.50, 58.80);…7. Brittany Reinbolt and Michaela Damas (USA) 1:59.50 (59.13, 1:00.37);
Women’s bobsled race #2:
1. Bree Schaaf and Kristi Koplin (USA) 1:55.55 (57.79, 57.76); 2. Berit Tomten and Maureen Ajoku (USA) 1:56.83 (58.37, 58.46); 3. Kimberly Garside and Melissa Lowe (CAN) 1:56.88 (58.50, 58.38);…7. Nicole Vogt and Anna Nostrant (USA) 1:58.95 (59.66, 69.29); 8. Brittany Reinbolt and Michaela Damas (USA) 1:58.97 (59.47, 59.50);
Women’s bobsled race #3:
1. Bree Schaaf and Kristi Koplin (USA) 1:54.87 (57.37, 57.50); 2. Rosalyn Nykolichuk and Chelsea Karpenko (CAN) 1:56.53 (57.97, 58.56); 3. Berit Tomten and Maureen Ajoku (USA) 1:56.93 (58.69, 58.24);….7. Nicole Vogt and Kelsey Heckathorne (USA) 1:58.51 (59.01, 59.50); 8. Brittany Reinbolt and Anna Nostrant (USA) 1:58.58 (59.44, 59.14);
Men’s two-man bobsled race #1:
1. Codie Bascue and Sam Michener (USA) 1:51.68 (55.68, 56.00); 2. Jan Vrba and Michal Vacek (CZE) 1:52.02 (55.90, 56.12); 3. Brad Reinsch and Ben Klepacki (CAN) 1:52.46 (56.04, 56.42);…5. Jake Peterson and Dakarai Kongela (USA) 1:52.62 (56.39, 56.23); 6. Jay Noller and Adrian Adams (USA) 1:52.63 (56.21, 56.42);…11. Colin Coughlin and David Cremin (USA) 1:53.34 (56.43, 56.91);
Men’s two-man bobsled race #2:
1. Jan Vrba and Dominik Suchy (CZE) 1:51.75 (55.77, 55.98); 2. Codie Bascue and Thomas White (USA) 1:51.91 (55.86, 56.05); 3. Jake Peterson and Dakarai Kongela (USA) 1:52.02 (55.79, 56.23);…11. Jay Noller and Caleb Pelger (USA) 1:53.16 (56.44, 56.72); 12. Colin Coughlin and Sam Michener (USA) 1:53.24 (56.49, 56.75);
Men’s two-man bobsled race #3:
1. Jan Vrba and Jan Stoklaska (CZE) 1:51.41 (55.50, 55.91); 2. Codie Bascue and Sam Michener (USA) 1:51.54 (55.60, 55.94); 3. Brad Reinsch and Ben Klepacki (CAN) 1:52.08 (55.76, 56.32); 4. Jake Peterson and Dallas Irvin (USA) 1:52.20 (55.96, 56.24);…11. Jay Noller and Jim Carriel (USA) 1:52.66 (56.08, 56.58);…13. Colin Coughlin and Pete Yemm (USA) 1:52.70 (56.41, 56.29);
Men’s four-man bobsled race #1:
1. Vrba, Suchy, Stoklaska and Vacek (CZE) 1:49.05 (54.79, 54.26); 2. Jagnesak, Tesovic, Simik and Zavacky (SVK) 1:49.46 (54.95, 54.51); 3. Bascue, Yemm, White and Michener (USA) 1:50.28 (55.33, 54.95);…6. Peterson, Lightsey, Cremin and Kongela (USA) 1:50.62 (55.57, 55.05);…9. Noller, Carriel, Pelger and Adams (USA) 1:51.09 (55.67, 55.42);
Men’s four-man bobsled race #2:
1. Vrba, Suchy, Stoklaska and Vacek (CZE) 1:48.89 (54.44, 54.45); 2 Jagnesak, Tesovic, Simik and Zavacky (SVK) 1:49.37 (54.77, 54.60); 3. Bascue, Yemm, White and Michener (USA) 1:49.86 (54.89, 54.97); 4. Peterson, Lightsey, Cremin and Kongela (USA) 1:49.87 (54.97, 54.90);…9. Noller, Irvin, Adams and Lesue (USA) 1:50.52 (55.30, 55.22);
Men’s four-man bobsled race #3:
1. Vrba, Suchy, Stoklaska and Vacek (CZE) 1:48.18 (54.12, 54.06); 2. Jagnesak, Tesovic, Simik and Zavacky (SVK) 1:48.40 (54.17, 54.23); 3. Reinsch, Austin, Klepacki and Nemet (CAN) 1:49.15 (54.52, 54.63); 4. Peterson, Lightsey, Cremin and Kongela (USA) 1:49.34 (54.62, 54.72); 5. Bascue, Yemm, White and Michener (USA) 1:49.42 (54.59, 5.83);…Noller, Carriel, Pelger and Adams (USA) DSQ;
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, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Azad Watches, Latta Kefir, 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.