Church, Williamson, Reed and Wilcox challenge for the medals in La Plagne four-man bobsled World Cup

Jan. 12, 2020, 7:57 a.m. (ET)

 

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

Church, Williamson, Reed and Wilcox challenge for the medals in La Plagne four-man bobsled World Cup

Photo credit: IBSF

LA PLAGNE, France (Jan. 12, 2020)Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) continues to challenge for the medals each week, finishing sixth in today’s four-man bobsled World Cup race in La Plagne with his powerhouse push crew of Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.), Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Kyle Wilcox (Tampa, Fla.).

“Our mission is competitive excellence at the Olympic Games, and Hunter, Josh, Jimmy, Kyle and Kris are putting our program back on the map this season,” said USA Bobsled Head Coach Mike Kohn. “It's fun to watch and I couldn't be more proud of how focused they are on what it takes to be formidable at the highest level.”

Church wasn’t a well-known name on the elite World Cup circuit until this season, when he blasted on the scene with a fifth place finish in Lake Placid, N.Y. Many assumed his success was due to his home track advantage, but Church has continued to put pressure on the world’s most accomplished competitors in Europe. Every week Church is learning a new track, and every week he’s in contention for a medal.

“He has to learn these tracks in a heck of a hurry,” said broadcast commentator Martin Haven.

Church, Williamson, Reed and Wilcox powered the Under Armour wrapped sled off the start in 5.91 seconds for the fifth fastest downtime of 58.19 seconds. Germany’s Nico Walther, who won the 2018 Olympic silver medal in four-man, was five-hundredths of a second ahead in fourth. Last year’s World Championship silver medalist Oskars Kibermanis from Latvia was 0.18 seconds ahead in third. The race for the medals would come down to the hundredth in the final heat.

The Americans clocked a second heat start time of 5.95 seconds, and Church navigated the crew to the finish in 58.41 seconds for a combined time of 1:56.60. Church, Williamson, Reed and Wilcox slipped 0.01 seconds behind 2018 Olympic two-man gold medalist Justin Kripps from Canada into sixth.

“I’m disappointed,” Church said. “I was really hoping to secure fifth and it hurts to be a hundredth down from Kripps. But we nailed all of our goals in the first two weeks in Europe, and now we get to set some new ones.”

Team Germany claimed gold and silver today. Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Alexander Schueller and Thorsten Margis were victorious in 1:55.85, while Johannes Lochner, Florian Bauer, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp earned silver in 1:56.06.

Kibermanis maintained his medal position with Lauris Kaufmanis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis, finishing third in 1:56.18. Team Walther finished fourth, followed by Kripps in fifth, and Church in sixth.

“I think I can be in medal contention and that I can compete against these guys,” Church said. “Brian (Shimer) and Kaillie (Humphries) have helped me tackle these tracks, and I have a great crew. I’m looking forward to setting new goals and checking those off.”

The World Cup moves to Igls, Austria for the fifth stop of the tour. Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Alexander Schueller and Thorsten Margis (GER) 1:55.85 (57.85, 58.00);
2. Johannes Lochner, Florian Bauer, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp (GER) 1:56.06 (57.99, 58.07);
3. Oskars Kibermanis, Lauris Kaufmanis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis (LAT) 1:56.18 (58.01, 58.17);
6. Hunter Church, Josh Williamson, Jimmy Reed and Kyle Wilcox (USA) 1:56.60 (58.19, 58.41);

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, Omaze, 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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