Church, Moeller, Walsh and Muhammed-Ray cap Lake Placid North American Cup with gold in four-man bobsled

Dec. 02, 2018, 3:33 p.m. (ET)

 

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


Church, Moeller, Walsh and Muhammed-Ray cap Lake Placid North American Cup with gold in four-man bobsled

 

 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Dec. 2, 2018)- Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) and his push crew of Sam Moeller (Houston, Texas), Chris Walsh (Pittsboro, N.C.) and Jamil Muhammed-Ray (Charlotte, N.C.) capped the Lake Placid North American Cup today with a gold medal in the first four-man bobsled race. Today’s four-man gold is the 14th medal and the fifth victory of the week for USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes.

“It was an incredible team effort this week and I think the entire team is getting better every day,” said USA Bobsled development coach and three-time Olympian Nick Cunningham. “I can’t wait to see what they can do next time they are on ice.”

Church, Moeller, Walsh and Muhammed-Ray were up against an accomplished field of World Cup and Olympic veterans. The rookie crew responded to the challenge with push times of 5.29 seconds, third best of the field, in race one to put the team in the mix off the start block. Church navigated his sled on his home track to the fastest downtime of 55.89 seconds in the first heat, tying the Canadian team of Chris Spring, Darren Lundrigan, Gabriel Chiasson and Cyrus Gray for the lead. 

Church stepped up in the second heat, driving the team to the finish in 55.96 seconds. The run was second best of the heat, just one-hundredth of a second short of the fastest time, but the Americans’ total time of 1:51.85 was 0.01 seconds faster than Spring’s team to give the U.S. gold.

Spring’s team finished in 1:51.86 for silver. Lamin Deen, Ryan Letts, John Baines and Adam Hames from Great Britain claimed bronze in 1:51.96.

“Four-man always a favorite of mine, I seem to feel much more at home once I jump into one.” Church said. “I knew we faced a good challenge against Chris Spring and Lamin Deen, but we carried confidence in ourselves going in, which gave us what we needed. We were able to block out the fact that we were underdogs to these well decorated Olympians.”

Geoff Gadbois (Milton, Vt.), Chris Avery (San Diego, Calif.), Michael Fogt (Alpine, Utah) and Kris Horn (Pembroke, Mass.) finished fifth with a combined time of 1:52.42. The crew pushed start times of 5.26 and 5.31, second and fourth best of the field, for runs of 56.20 and 56.22 seconds, respectively.

Bryan Berghorn (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and his all-women’s push crew of Tiffeny Parker (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Lauren McDonald (Roseland, N.J.) and Yonni McGee (Panama City, Panama) were sixth with a two-run total of 1:54.80. The team clocked starts of 5.86 and 5.88 for runs of 57.32 and 57.48 seconds. Parker and McGee are first-year bobsledders, while McDonald is a rookie skeleton athlete currently training in Lake Placid. Berghorn is a former competitive bobsled driver who now coaches.

“Bryan, Tiffeny, Lauren and Yonni really stepped up big today,” Cunningham said. “Without this team, we would not have had a four-man race due to lack of sleds. This is not the first time Bryan has jumped in to help Team USA and we are extremely thankful. When the team stepped to the line, the crowd grew bigger and louder to cheer them on down the start ramp. All nations stepped out to cheer for them.”

Church, Moeller, Walsh and Muhammed-Ray were in third place after the first heat of today’s second race with a run of 57.17 seconds. They were bumped back into fourth in the final heat, edged out of the medals by British competitors Brad Hall, Alan Toward, Nick Gleeson and Ben Simons. Team Church finished with a total time of 1:54.91, while team Hall clocked a combined time of 1:54.49 for the bronze.

“Our second race wasn’t the greatest,” Church said. “The runs felt ok, but runner selection wasn’t the right one for the afternoon.”

Spring secured gold for Canada in the second race with an aggregate time of 1:54.21, followed by Great Britain’s Deen in silver medal position with a two-run total of 1:54.48.

Gadbois, Avery, Fogt and Horn were close behind their teammates in race two. The team finished fifth with a cumulative time of 1:55.17 after posting runs of 57.33 and 57.84 seconds. Gadbois, Avery, Fogt and Horn clocked the second best start time of the first heat of 5.25 seconds.

Berghorn, Parker, McDonald and McGee were again sixth, this time with a total of 1:57.04. The three-women push crew posted starts of 5.84 and 5.86 seconds for runs of 58.31 and 58.73 seconds, respectively.

“We are still going through some growing pains in the four-man,” Cunningham said. “Like four years ago, we lost a lot of veteran athletes to retirement and we are again working hard to coach and develop many brand new athletes. This is a learning process and as long as we are progressing we are happy. Hunter and Geoff have been working hard to lead their teams and instill a championship mentality.”

The North American Cup will make its fourth and final stop in Calgary, Canada next month with races from Jan. 10-13.

“This rookie class has been full of great energy and everything that they bring to the table looks like nothing but future success for the program,” Church said. “We are excited to regroup and move into the second half in Calgary.”

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

Results

Four-man Bobsled #1:
1. Hunter Church, Sam Moeller, Chris Walsh and Jamil Muhammed-Ray (USA) 1:51.85 (55.89, 55.96);
2. Chris Spring, Darren Lundrigan, Gabriel Chiasson and Cyrus Gray (CAN) 1:51.86 (55.89, 55.97);
3. Lamin Deen, Ryan Letts, John Baines and Adam Hames (GBR) 1:51.96 (55.99, 55.97);
5. Geoff Gadbois, Chris Avery, Michael Fogt and Kris Horn (USA) 1:52.42 (56.20, 56.22);
6. Bryan Berghorn, Tiffeny Parker, Lauren McDonald and Yonni McGee (USA) 1:54.80 (57.32, 57.48);

Four-man Bobsled #2:
1. Chris Spring, Darren Lundrigan, Gabriel Chiasson and Cyrus Gray (CAN) 1:54.21 (56.67, 57.54);
2. Lamin Deen, Ryan Letts, John Baines and Adam Hames (GBR) 1:54.48 (57.24, 57.24);
3. Brad Hall, Alan Toward, Nick Gleeson and Ben Simons (GBR) 1:54.49 (56.81, 57.68);
4. Hunter Church, Sam Moeller, Chris Walsh and Jamil Muhammed-Ray (USA) 1:54.91 (57.17, 57.74);
5. Geoff Gadbois, Chris Avery, Michael Fogt and Kris Horn (USA) 1:55.17 (57.33, 57.84);
6. Bryan Berghorn, Tiffeny Parker, Lauren McDonald and Yonni McGee (USA) 1:57.04 (58.31, 58.73);

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 atwww.usabs.com.

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