Blaser and Roderick sweep Lake Placid North American Cup

Dec. 01, 2018, 3:26 p.m. (ET)

 

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

 

 

Blaser and Roderick sweep Lake Placid North American Cup 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.(Dec. 1, 2018)USA Skeleton claimed eight medals in the Lake Placid North American Cup, led by Andrew Blaser’s(Meridian, Idaho) sweep of the men’s races and Sara Roderick’s(South Burlington, Vt.) double gold medals in the women’s races. Max Delance(San Jose, Calif.) contributed a bronze medal to the overall count yesterday. Michelle Toukan(Central City, Neb.) earned two silver medals, and Kelly Curtis(Princeton, N.J.) helped complete a U.S. sweep of the medals in today’s women’s race by claiming bronze.

“I’m proud of all the athletes’ performances this week,” said USA Skeleton development coach Lauri Bausch. “Reconnecting with the Lake Placid track in six runs didn’t come easily for all. Everyone collected at least one top-six finish and it’s great seeing some of our athletes have repeat podium finishes coming to a drastically different track from last week. Overall the team did a great job.”

Fresh off winning his first career international race last week in Park City, Utah, where his dad awarded him his first career gold medal, Blaser continued his winning streak by sweeping the men’s races in Lake Placid.

“These last four races have been career best finishes,” Blaser said. “I do believe in momentum and flow theory, especially in this sport.”

Blaser hasn’t felt like he’s mastered the Lake Placid track, but he entered this week feeling confident after last week’s victories.

These races are always a little daunting for me, but Lake Placid is starting to feel more like a home track and less like a nemesis every run,” Blaser said. “I had to tell myself to stay calm and enjoy the experience. I tried a couple new things in traditionally problem sections of the track and it seemed to pay off.”

 

Blaser’s dedication paid off with wide margins; he won yesterday’s race by 0.60 seconds and today’s race by 0.83 seconds to convincingly win both days. 

 

Blaser opened yesterday’s race with a start time of 5.07 seconds for a run of 55.46 seconds to set the pace for the field. He maintained his lead in the second heat with a faster start time of 5.00 seconds and downtime of 55.22 to claim his third gold medal of the season with a combined time of 1:50.68.

 

Australia’s Nicholas Timmings was second in 1:51.28. American Delance, who earned his first international medal just last week, claimed the bronze medal in 1:51.91. Delance posted start times of 5.24 and 5.23 seconds for runs of 55.83 and 56.08 seconds, respetively. 

 

“For me, this was a tough week and I certainly faced some adversity in training that I had to overcoming in the races,” Delance said. “I felt overall pretty solid and was happy with the third place result.”

 

The top six athletes are awarded with medals, and Dan Barefoot(Orlando, Fla.) rallied for sixth place in the first race to earn some hardware with a two-run total of 1:53.06. Barefoot was in eighth after a first heat of 57.24 seconds, but he threw down the third fastest time of the second heat, 55.82 seconds, to move up into sixth. 

Chris Strup(Defiance, Ohio) struggled in run one, but moved up two spots into 12th in the second heat with a combined time of 1:55.72.

Blaser was dominant again today, earning gold in 1:50.12 by nearly one second. He pushed his sled to start times of 5.01 and 4.97 seconds for runs of 54.83 and 55.29 seconds, respectively. With six races and four medals already this season, Blaser hopes to continue his trajectory of learning over the next several months on ice.

“The rest of the season I plan on building on the foundation that has been laid,” Blaser said. “I want to work on learning more and becoming a better slider.”

 

Blake Enzie from Canada claimed today’s silver medal in 1:50.95, followed by Timmings in third with a total time of 1:51.33.

 

Barefoot moved into fifth today with a two-run total of 1:51.48. He was fifth after a first run time of 55.57, and again posted the third fastest time of the second heat, 55.91 seconds, to show his potential.

 

Strup finished sixth to place three Americans into the top six today. Strup clocked runs of 55.97 and 56.61 seconds for an aggregate time of 1:52.58. Delance was on his teammate’s heels in seventh with a combined time of 1:52.71.

 

“I made some mistakes at the top of the track that unfortunately led to an unfavorable result, but I was able to improve on other key areas which will lead to a more favorable result in the future,” Delance said. “I certainly feel like I’m building momentum for the second half of the season and beyond.” 

 

Blaser said he’s excited to watch the younger athletes grow and improve, and Delance commented about how well the team has come together.

 

“The team dynamic is great,” Delance said. “Everyone on the team helped each other improve and I’m really excited for my future within this organization.”

In the women’s field, Roderick was in a league of her own. She dominated yesterday’s race from start to finish, and won by an enormous margin of 1.70 seconds in a sport measured to the hundredth of a second. Her push times of 5.24 and 5.29 gave her a head start off the block, and she extended her lead with finish times of 56.62 and 56.43 seconds for a combined time of 1:53.05.

“My runs went well, but there is plenty to learn and fix and that’s what makes it fun,” Roderick said. “I’ve been sick, so pulling out what I did was a surprise.”

Toukan was the closest competitor to her teammate in second. The young up-and-coming slider clocked start times of 5.46 and 5.44 for runs of 57.49 and 57.26 seconds to claim silver in 1:54.75.

Leslie Stratton, who used to compete for the U.S. and now competes for Sweden, finished third in 1:54.88, followed by American Mystique Ro(Nokesville, Va.) in fourth with a combined time of 1:55.26. Ro was closest to Roderick at the start with push times of 5.26 and 5.35 seconds.

Curtis was in silver medal position after a first heat of 56.63 seconds, just a mere one-hundredth of a second behind Roderick, but a problematic second run that resulted in a crash pushed her back to sixth place with a cumulative time of 1:57.99. 

“I’ve been a bit frustrated with the learning curve on the new sled, but I’m confident I’ll be able to hone it in with more practice,” Curtis said.  

Despite feeling ill, Roderick repeated her gold medal performance today, winning by over half a second with a two-run total of 1:53.12. The University of Vermont graduate competed in heptathlon and was American All East Champion as well as the ECAS D1 Champion in 2015. Her athleticism was on display again with push times of 5.25 and 5.36 seconds. She raced to the finish in 56.30 and 56.82 seconds to secure her sweep of the women’s races.

“I’m excited for my first golds,” Roderick said. “It was really special to have my family here. My dad flew all the way from Africa to watch. It’s the most relaxed and happy I’ve ever been at the line. This group of U.S. athletes is really cool. I’m proud to be a part of it. We are really supportive of each other and it shows. Sweeping day two was the cherry on top.”

Toukan was again second today to contribute two medals to the overall count for Team USA. Toukan was competitive at the start with push times of 5.47 and 5.36, and was close to her teammate with finish times of 56.69 and 56.97. She claimed her second silver medal of the week with a total time of 1:53.66. 

Curtis was in third after a first run time of 56.73 seconds, and she held on to her medal position with a second heat time of 57.03 seconds. She helped complete a U.S. sweep of the medals with a total time of 1:53.76 by earning bronze.

“I feel very lucky to be part of a Team USA sweep,” Curtis said. “I felt a little redeemed today after crashing in the second heat yesterday. To quote Miss Congeniality, ‘I mean, I know we all secretly hope the other will trip and fall on her face, but – oh wait a minute! I’ve already done that!’ I’m pleased with all of the knowledge I’ve gained during the first six races and I’m looking forward to going to Calgary next month to continue making improvements on understanding and execution.”

Kristen Hurley(Columbia, Conn.) returned to competition after sustaining an injury in Whistler, Canada a few weeks ago. Hurley finished fifth with a two-run total of 1:54.92 after sliding runs of 57.19 and 57.73. 

The next and final stop of the North American Cup will be in Calgary, Canada from Jan. 10-13.

“Few of our athletes have much experience in Calgary, but I suspect they are hungry to collect more hardware and chase the overall title when we compete in Canada next month,” Bausch said.

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

Results

Women’s Race #1
1. Sara Roderick (USA) 1:53.05 (56.62, 56.43 (56.62, 56.43);
2. Michelle Toukan (USA) 1:54.75 (57.49, 57.26);
3. Leslie Stratton (SWE) 1:54.88 (57.43, 57.45);
4. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:55.26 (57.48, 57.78);
6. Kelly Curtis (USA) 1:57.99 (56.63, 1:01.36);

Women’s Race #2
1. Sara Roderick (USA) 1:53.12 (56.30, 56.82);
2. Michelle Toukan (USA) 1:53.66 (56.69, 56.97);
3. Kelly Curtis (USA) 1:53.76 (56.73, 57.03);
5. Kristen Hurley (USA) 1:54.92 (57.19, 57.73);

Men’s Race #1
1. Andrew Blaser (USA) 1:50.68 (55.46, 55.22);
2. Nicholas Timmings (AUS) 1:51.28 (55.80, 55.48);
3. Max Delance (USA) 1:51.91 (55.83, 56.08);
6. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:53.06 (57.24, 55.82);
12. Chris Strup (USA) 1:55.72 (58.75, 56.97);

Men’s Race #2
1. Andrew Blaser (USA) 1:50.12 (54.83, 55.29);
2. Blake Enzie (CAN) 1:50.95 (55.38, 55.57);
3. Nicholas Timmings (AUS) 1:51.33 (55.01, 56.32);
5. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:51.48 (55.57, 55.91);
6. Chris Strup (USA) 1:52.58 (55.97, 56.61);
7. Max Delance (USA) 1:52.71 (56.47, 56.24);

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 Research, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

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