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Daly and Henry sweep USA Skeleton selection races
Lake Placid, N.Y. (November 21, 2020)- John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) swept the USA Skeleton selection races to secure their spots on the national team. Four-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) moved up today to finish second in the women’s race, followed by Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) in third. In the men’s race, Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) was again second, and Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) moved up three spots from yesterday to finish third.
“The track crew has gone above and beyond to give us race ready conditions,” said USA Skeleton Head Coach Tuffy Latour. “It’s amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish with limited staff on site because of Covid protocols. We are really grateful for everything the Olympic Regional Development Authority has done to help us get on ice during this very unpredictable season.”
Henry was the first athlete down the track today, and she watched as four competitors bettered her time at the finish. She entered the final heat in fifth position with a time of 56.39 seconds.
“Usually I watch the forerunners to gauge how fast the track is, but I didn’t do that today because I was going off first,” Henry said. “Lesson learned. I over-drove in curve 3 and it snowballed from there. But I love being in an underdog position and it was a great opportunity to battle back.”
Henry blasted off the start block in the final heat with the second-best push time of 5.25 seconds, and she raced to the finish with the fastest time of 56.11 seconds. Her combined time of 1:52.50 was enough to move her into the lead by two-hundredths of a second.
“Anyone can win once, so to do it twice was important to me,” Henry said. “Consistency will be a huge goal for me this season.”
Uhlaender was consistent today with two second-placed runs. She clocked times of 56.15 and 56.37 seconds for a total of 1:52.52. Wesenberg led the field after a first run of 55.98 seconds, but dropped two spots with the seventh-best time of 56.94 seconds in the final heat. She finished third in 1:52.92.
Savannah Graybill (Denver, Penn.) finished fourth with a two-run combined time of 1:53.08, followed by Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.) in fifth with a 1:53.10, and Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) in sixth with a 1:53.15. Ro was third fastest in the first heat, and also posted a start time of 5.20 seconds in both heats for the fastest time off the block.
Daly was once again the winner in the men’s race with a combined time of 1:49.71. He led the first heat by 0.19 seconds with a downtime of 54.64 seconds, but the gap closed to 0.12 seconds with the second-best time of 55.07 seconds in the final heat.
“I got a little late going into corner 14, and it took me up towards the lip, so I had to steer away from it,” Daly said. “Other than that, it was still a great day of racing.”
Daly will need to complete the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s 5-3-2 rule–which means he needs to compete in five races on three tracks over two years–before he’s eligible to compete on the World Cup circuit. He plans on racing in North American Cup and European Cup races to earn his qualification.
“My goal is to get to the Games, win a medal, and continue working full time,” Daly said. “It’s a lofty goal, but I think I can do it. I have a lot of work to do, a lot to improve on. I’ll need to be efficient every day. But the passion is gone when there’s no racing. Moments go by so quick, and I want to stay with the moment one more time.”
Daly works for the medical sales company Bardy Diagnostics, which manufactures an arrhythmia monitor with innovative P-wave centric ECG detection.
Florian posted the second and first fastest runs of the day with times of 54.83 and 55.00 seconds, respectively. He also had the fastest push time of 4.81 seconds in the first heat. Florian secured second place with a two-run total of 1:49.83.
Ivanov threaded together runs of 55.63 and 55.53 seconds for a total of 1:51.16 to finish third today. Austin McCrary (Colleyville, Texas) finished fourth in 1:51.36, followed by Steve Garbett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in fifth with a combined time of 1:51.50.
There are three quota spots available for the women on both the World Cup and Intercontinental Cup teams. The men have two spots up for grabs on the World Cup team, and three on the Intercontinental Cup. The national team will be named this evening after points from the races have been calculated.
Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or email@example.com, with media inquiries.
Race two results:
1. Megan Henry 1:52.50 (56.39, 56.11);
2. Katie Uhlaender 1:52.52 (56.15, 56.37);
3. Kendall Wesenberg 1:52.92 (55.98, 56.94);
4. Savannah Graybill 1:53.08 (56.38, 56.70);
5. Kelly Curtis 1:53.10 (56.65, 56.45);
6. Mystique Ro 1:53.15 (56.30, 56.85);
7. Sara Roderick 1:53.20 (56.42, 56.78);
1. John Daly 1:49.71 (54.64, 55.07);
2. Austin Florian 1:49.83 (54.83, 55.00);
3. Alex Ivanov 1:51.16 (55.63, 55.53);
4. Austin McCrary 1:51.36 (55.62, 55.74);
5. Steve Garbett 1:51.50 (55.64, 55.86);
6. Mike Rogals 1:51.80 (55.88, 55.92);
7. Hunter Williams 1:52.57 (55.88, 56.69);
8. Chris Strup 1:52.62 (56.03, 56.59);
9. Dan Barefoot 1:52.86 (55.87, 56.99);
10. Kyler Sultemeier 1:54.48 (57.32, 57.16);
11. Andrew Blaser (57.52, 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, Omaze, Kampgrounds of America, Snap Fitness, Hammer Strength, and Boomerang Carnets. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.