Wesenberg and Florian win USA Skeleton National Championship titles and World Cup berths

March 23, 2019, 1:43 p.m. (ET)

 

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

 

Wesenberg and Florian win USA Skeleton National Championship titles and World Cup berth

 

Photo from left to right: Ivanov, Graybill, Brown, Wesenberg, Uhlaender and Florian

 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.(March 23, 2019)– The women’s and men’s USA Skeleton National Championship titles were contested down to the fourth and final run today at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) threw down two impressive runs to overtake the lead, winning her first career title. Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) fell back after a mishap at the start in today’s opening heat, but he rallied back in the finale to claim his first championship win. Their wins earned them spots on the 2019-2020 World Cup team. 

“It’s my first national title, so that’s cool,” Wesenberg said. “The World Cup team has slid 15 race runs in the last 30 days, so to come here and put up a fight the way everyone has is impressive. Savannah (Graybill) and I have been back and forth all week, all the way until today.”

Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) maintained a slim lead of 0.07 seconds over the women’s field after the third heat. She posted a start time of 5.63 seconds for a run of 55.88, finishing just ahead of Wesenberg. Wesenberg was third overnight, but she clocked the fastest run of the heat, 55.71 seconds, to move up into second. With a slim margin between Graybill and Wesenberg, the race for the title would come down to the fourth and final heat. 

Graybill posted a final run time of 55.69 seconds compared to Wesenberg’s downtime of 55.69 seconds. Wesenberg edged out her teammate in the finale by 0.32 seconds with a combined time of 3:43.71. 

“Sorry for that one,” Wesenberg said jokingly to Graybill. “Sorry I did it the way I did in the last run.”

“Thank you,” Graybill said. “It’s either stress now or stress in October, and she just gets no stress this summer.”

Graybill finished with a four-run combined time of 3:44.03 for second place.

Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) returned to competition yesterday after a year off. She started her campaign for a spot on the team with the third best time of the opening heat, and moved into second place to enter today’s final heats in the running for gold. She fell back 0.17 seconds behind Wesenberg, and 0.24 seconds behind Graybill.  The four-time Olympian finished third with a total time of 3:44.42 after a final downtime of 56.23 seconds. 

Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) was close to the medals in fourth with a combined time of 3:44.88.

Florian held a comfortable lead of 0.28 seconds over the men’s field heading into today’s final heats, but Kyle Brown (Concord, N.H.) stepped up in today’s opening heat to take over the lead. Brown laid down a start time of 5.01 seconds for a downtime of 54.18 seconds to make a run for the title. Brown has medaled in three national championships before, but he’s never won. He claimed bronze in 2018, and silver in 2016 and 2015. 

Florian tripped at the start, resulting in a start time of 5.09 seconds, which is more than three-tenths of a second slower than his times yesterday. He managed to post a downtime of 54.66 seconds to keep him within reach of the lead. 

“I’d rather not do that, but it makes for a good race,” Florian said. “I was certainly not happy about slipping, but sometimes it happens. I managed to put it behind me and had a very good run. I knew if I could put together a better push and have anotner run like that, I could get closer to the lead or take it back.”

As Florian approached the starting line, a crowd of family and friends was trackside to cheer him on. Florian came back in the final run with an outstanding push time of 4.80 seconds for a run of 54.01 seconds to reclaim the lead. He clocked a four-run combined time of 3:37.82 to win by 0.20 seconds. 

“It definitely helps to have people at the race and to have so much support,” Florian said.  “It was so loud at the start, I love not being to hear the announcer because of the noise.”

Florian is already thinking ahead to the offseason. He’s looking at job opportunities in Connecticut, and will spend some time with his athletic trainer and strength coach. 

“But first I need some time off,” Florian said. “I need a vacation before I get back into it.”

Brown earned his fourth career medal, another silver, with a total time of 3:39.98. Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) maintained his position to claim the bronze medal in 3:39.98. Ivanov did not compete this season, but he’s a threat for next season’s national team.

Greg West (Springfield, Mo.) was the next closest finisher in fourth with a total time of 3:40.09.

Racing continues in Lake Placid today with the four-man bobsled and monobob races. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at amanda.bird@usabs.com, or at (518) 354-2250. 

Results

Women
1. Kendall Wesenberg 3:43.71 (55.66, 56.65, 55.71, 55.69);
2. Savannah Graybill 3:44.03 (55.86, 56.21, 55.88, 56.08);
3. Katie Uhlaender 3:44.42 (55.97, 56.16, 56.06, 56.23);
4. Megan Henry 3:44.88 (56.17, 56.52, 56.07, 56.12);
5. Sara Roderick 3:46.98 (56.52, 57.31, 56.43, 56.72);
6. Kelly Curtis 3:48.03 (56.68, 58.13, 56.38, 56.84);
7. Michelle Toukan 3:48.20 (57.42, 57.58, 56.25, 56.95);
8. Sam Culiver 3:48.96 (57.57, 56.99, 57.13, 57.27);
9. Lauren McDonald 3:50.94 (57.30, 58.45, 57.26, 57.93);
10. Kristen Hurley 3:51.33 (57.89, 57.85, 57.70, 57.89);
10. Mystique Ro 3:51.33 (57.94, 58.07, 57.62, 57.70);
12. Brooke Whitburn 3:54.60 (58.38, 58.98, 58.16, 59.08);
13. Emily Shelberg 3:55.50 (58.94, 58.41, 58.23, 59.92);
14. Sabrina Anderson 3:56.40 (59.37, 59.37, 58.28, 59.38);
Logan Wudi (1:00.56, 1:00.47, 1:00.93, DNF);

Men
1. Austin Florian 3:37.82 (54.46, 54.69, 54.66, 54.01);
2. Kyle Brown 3:38.02 (54.52, 54.91, 54.18, 54.41);
3. Alex Ivanov 3:39.98 (55.00, 55.41, 54.80, 54.77);
4. Greg West 3:40.09 (55.37, 55.45, 54.64, 54.63);
5. Steve Garbett 3:40.11 (55.20, 55.69, 54.59, 54.63);
6. Mike Rogals 3:40.39 (55.16, 55.54, 54.65, 55.04);
7. Andrew Blaser 3:40.96 (55.57, 55.59, 55.08, 54.72);
8. Daniel Barefoot 3:42.72 (55.34, 56.89, 55.34, 55.15);
9. Max Delance 3:44.33 (56.10, 56.47, 55.91, 55.85);
10. Chris Strup 3:44.57 (56.02, 56.62, 55.61, 56.32);
11. Kyler Sultemeier 3:45.94 (56.37, 56.47, 56.48, 56.62);
12. Zack Goodwin 3:46.55 (56.61, 57.01, 56.67, 56.26);
13. Jared Firestone 3:46.94 (56.55, 56.54, 56.65, 57.20);
14. Hunter Williams 3:47.38 (56.94, 57.10, 56.53, 56.81);
15. Kenner Broullire 3:49.81 (57.51, 57.48, 56.62, 58.20);
15. James McGuire 3:49.81 (57.89, 57.86, 57.15, 56.91);
17. Dave DeMarco 3:50.56 (57.46, 57.94, 57.75, 57.41);
18. Roger Biesida 3:52.60 (58.13, 58.53, 58.25, 57.69);
19. Luis Medina 3:53.14 (58.35, 58.61, 58.11, 58.07);
20. Taggert Hudson 3:53.81 (58.58, 58.15, 58.45, 58.63);
Mike Anderson (DNS)
Teddy Fitzsimmons (DNS)
Austin McCrary (DNS)

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, BiPro, 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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