Sliding season kicks off in Lake Placid for USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes

Oct. 08, 2015, 10:12 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, amanda.bird@usabs.com

Sliding season kicks off in Lake Placid for USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes


LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Oct. 8, 2015)- USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes are back on track as they prepare for the upcoming 2015-2016 season at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, N.Y. Bobsledders will take their first training runs of the season this morning, and skeleton athletes will take their first official training runs on Monday. Competitors will get a chance to test their strength, speed and power gained during six months of offseason training when selection races begin later this month. Results in selection races will determine the national team roster.

The schedule is as follows, with all times listed in ET:

Saturday, Oct. 17: Two-man and women’s bobsled race at 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24: Two-man and women's bobsled race at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 25: Four-person bobsled race at 10:30 a.m.
Monday, Oct. 26: Skeleton race #1 at 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27: Skeleton race #2 at 3:30 p.m.

The USA Bobsled National Team is expected to be named following the four-person selection race on Sunday, Oct. 25. In both the women’s and men’s disciplines, the USA is one of only four nations to earn three sleds on the World Cup tour. Skeleton athletes will compete in two additional selection races in Park City, Utah before the USA Skeleton National Team is scheduled to be announced the evening of Friday, Nov. 6. Two women and two men will be selected to race on the World Cup circuit, and three women and three men will be named to the Intercontinental Cup tour.

Two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) earned a bye onto the national team after a dominant 2014-2015 season. Meyers Taylor and push athlete Cherrelle Garrett (Hayward, Calif.) set track records in three of four runs over two days en route to winning the first World Championship title by U.S. female bobsledders. Meyers Taylor became the first male or female U.S. driver to win an Olympic or World Championship gold medal on a non-North American track since 1959, and she captured her first career World Cup title to cap a historic season.

Meyers Taylor was granted early access yesterday to test the track for two runs before the facility is officially open for training.

“The track crew did an excellent job getting the track together,” Meyers Taylor said. “I was shocked that we were able to get on the ice this early with warm temps, but they made it happen and the track is probably the best I've ever seen in October despite being 60 degrees.”

Meyers Taylor’s passengers were first-year rookies Kehri Jones (Killeen, Texas) and Terra Evans (Phoenix, Ariz.). Meyers Taylor has taken several athletes down for their first trip in a bobsled and she said, “I should be a veteran at it, but there’s always a little extra nervousness with rookies because you want them to have fun and have a good first trip. It’s also exciting to see their reactions at the end, but Kehri and Terra handled it like champs.”

Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pa.) claimed five World Cup medals last season and is again expected to be a tour de force nationally and internationally.

One veteran will be missing from the women’s bobsled national team roster this season. Olympic pilot Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) submitted a request for immediate release from USA Bobsled & Skeleton on October 2, 2015, and her request to represent another nation at her own discretion was granted.

“We were surprised to get the request from Jazmine since she’s been a part of such a successful program, but we respect her desire to represent another nation if that’s what she chooses to do,” said USABS Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “We wish her all the best and we are excited to see which athlete steps up to fill her shoes.”

Fenlator began the sport of bobsled in 2007. She ran track at Rider University and it was her track coach that encouraged her to participate in a bobsled camp after graduation. After spending a few years as a brakeman, Fenlator decided to make the switch to the driver’s seat. In her five-year driving career, Fenlator tallied a total of four World Cup medals, and was one of three pilots to compete for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, where she finished 11th with brakeman Lolo Jones.

Three-time Olympic medalist and five-time World Champion Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) is expected to once again lead the men’s bobsled team. Last season’s national team pilots Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) are back in action alongside a mixed roster of first-year rookies and veterans.

BMW, a proud partner of USA Bobsled & Skeleton, works with the team year round to identify opportunities to support key team efforts, including equipment improvements, athlete assistance and future innovation. BMW sponsored a total of 15 women’s and men’s rookie athletes to the USA National Bobsled Push Championships, and many of those athletes will now be vying for a spot on the national team.

Team USA is allotted two quota spots for both the women’s and men’s skeleton teams. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.) earned a bye last season to lock up one of the men’s positions. Jake Miter (Troy, N.Y.) kick started his season with a win at USA National Skeleton Push Championships last month, and he hopes to carry that momentum to the ice during trials. He’ll be up against a field of seasoned national team veterans like Olympian Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J), Stephen Garbett (Parker, Colo.), Kyle Brown (Concord, N.H.) and Allen Blackwell (Jackson, Miss.).

Three-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) is back in the saddle of her skeleton sled this season after spending some time in a bike saddle. She was approached with the opportunity to try cycling while doing a stationary bike workout as she was rehabbing hip and ankle injuries at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado in January. Always a competitor, Uhlaender embraced the new challenge and even competed in the USA Cycling National Championships just a few months into her training. She’s back on ice this season and is expected to be a top contender for the women’s team along with last season’s World Cup and World Championship squad of Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.), Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) and Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.).

Get updates on the team throughout selection races by following USA Bobsled & Skeleton on Facebook, USBSF on Twitter and USABS on Instagram.

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at amanda.bird@usabs.com, or at (518) 354-2250.

About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real Estate, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, Azad Watches, Latta USA, Park City Lodging, Inc., Classroom Champions, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Protostar, Machintek and deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

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