Bascue, Reinbolt victorious in first USA Bobsled National Team Trials races
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Oct. 13, 2017)- Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) and Brittany Reinbolt (Searcy, Ark.) piloted their way to victory in the first races of the 2017-2018 USA Bobsled National Team Trials on Friday morning. Bascue, racing with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), threw down the fastest downtime in the second heat to edge Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) for the win, while Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs (Los Angeles, Calif.) strung together the fastest downtime of each heat of the women’s race for a commanding victory.
Reinbolt and Gibbs took the women’s race after a strong first heat in which they posted a 5.45-second start time en route to a 57.58 downtime, the fastest of the first run. They finished the race with a 57.81-second second-heat downtime, beating out the other two women’s sleds by nearly half a second.
“It’s just day one of two, so I have to stay focused through the night and try to do the same thing tomorrow,” Reinbolt said. “It was actually the hardest week of training I’ve ever had in Lake Placid of my whole career. I had so much support from everyone though and just got through it and was able to focus and put everything together on race day.”
Coming off of her first season on the national team as a pilot, Reinbolt put herself in a strong position for her second. Last season, Reinbolt was ranked ninth in the IBSF World Cup overall standings, and recorded a season-best fourth-place finish in the Lake Placid World Cup. Gibbs, meanwhile, seeks her fourth consecutive national team berth as a push athlete.
“Gibbs is awesome,” Reinbolt said. “We push really well together and have a lot of fun in the sled. We actually got a little too excited on the first push. She’s a great teammate and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of a push athlete.”
Pilots Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) and Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pa.) have ‘byes’ onto the national team due to their results from last season, and thus did not count as competitive sleds. Both slid today though, kicking off the women’s race as forerunners. Meyers Taylor, racing with Maureen Ajoku (San Jose, Calif.), set a new start record in their second run with a 5.41-second push. Greubel Poser slid with Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.), as Ajoku and Evans seek a spot on the national team.
Kristi Koplin (Sandy, Utah) and Kehri Jones (Killeen, Texas) took second behind Reinbolt and Gibbs. Koplin sat in the third position after the first heat, but beat out Nicole Vogt (Dallas, Texas) by .17 seconds in the second heat to edge Vogt by .08 seconds with a 1:55.83 combined downtime. Vogt and Briauna Jones (Charlotte, N.C.) took third with a 1:55.91 downtime.
In the two-man race, Bascue and Valdes and Olsen and Evan Weinstock (Las Vegas, Nev.) posted identical 56.14 downtimes in the first heat to tie for the lead heading into the final run. Despite a record-breaking 4.96-second start time from Olsen and Weinstock in the second heat, it was Bascue and Valdes that came out on top. Their 1:52.46 combined downtime edged Olsen by .14 seconds.
Bascue made the national team last year after sweeping the four USA Bobsled National Team Trials races, and will sweep once again should he win the four-man race on Tuesday.
“It feels awesome,” Bascue said. “The guys are doing a great job of taking a lot of work off my hands and taking control of everything so I can just focus on driving. It seems to be paying off so far. The first run, I felt like there were some spots where I wasn’t driving like myself. Going into the second run, I relaxed and wrapped my head around everything and just tried to drive like I knew I could. We started things in July, so the anticipation has been building up until now, so it’s a weight off our shoulders. But this means nothing if we can’t perform in four-man, so we’re focusing on that now.”
Olsen and Weinstock posted the fastest start times of each heat. In their first run, they tied the former 5.00-second start record for the track, set by Latvia in the 2012 World Championships. In the second heat, their 4.96 start shattered it. Olsen is considered one of the top pushing drivers in the world, and Weinstock, a former Brown University decathlete, took second at this year’s USA Bobsled National Push Championships in July.
Two-time Olympian Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) paired with Ryan Bailey (Salem, Ore.) to take third in today’s competition. Bailey, a 2012 Olympian in track, made the switch to bobsled last season. Cunningham, who won the overall North American Cup title in both two-man and four-man last season. suffered a hamstring tear last week while taking a combine, and is still recovering.
USA Bobsled National Team Trials races resume tomorrow with the second and final women’s race, beginning at 9 a.m. ET. The race will be live-streamed on USABS’ website, and live updates will be posted on USABS’ official Twitter and Facebook pages.
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1. Brittany Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs 1:55.39 (57.58, 57.81);
2. Kristi Koplin and Kehri Jones 1:55.83 (57.85, 57.98);
3. Nicole Vogt and Briauna Jones 1:55.91 (57.76, 58.15);
1. Codie Bascue and Carlo Valdes 1:52.46 (56.14, 56.32);
2. Justin Olsen and Evan Weinstock 1:52.60 (56.14, 56.46);
3. Nick Cunningham and Ryan Bailey 1:52.76 (56.22, 56.54);
4. Hunter Church and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor 1:53.33 (56.73, 56.60);
5. Geoff Gadbois and Nic Taylor 1:53.35 (56.69, 56.66);
1. Elana Meyers Taylor and Maureen Ajoku 1:54.75 (57.34, 57.41);
2. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans 1:54.78 (57.21, 57.57);
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, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Thorne, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl Technique, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Stress Engineering, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at www.usabs.com.