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Church, Williamson, Reed and Horn finish eighth in Church’s first-career World Cup outside of North America
Photo credit: IBSF
WINTERBERG, Germany (Jan. 3, 2020)– Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) navigated his team of Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.), Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Kris Horn (Pembroke, Mass.) to eighth place in today’s four-man bobsled World Cup in Winterberg. Today was Church’s first World Cup race outside of North America.
Church took his first-career trips down the German track this week. The only European track the 23-year-old pilot has experience on is St. Moritz, Switzerland, where he raced in the 2018 Junior World Championships. Church earned his spot at the sole U.S. men’s pilot on the European portion of the World Cup tour by finishing as the top ranked American pilot in the first two races in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“Hunter has a willingness to learn that’s really refreshing, and an amazing attention to detail,” said USA Bobsled Head Coach Mike Kohn. “He came to Europe with a growth mindset, and he did a great job today.”
Church, Williamson, Reed and Horn powered the Under Armour branded sled off the block in 5.14 seconds for the sixth-best start of the first heat. Church had some trouble maneuvering the sled into corner nine, but the crew crossed the finish line in 55.97 seconds to place them in eighth heading into the final heat. Two Russian sleds were tied for sixth a mere one-hundredth of a second ahead of the Americans.
Church, Williamson, Reed and Horn had great speed off the start again in run two with a push time of 5.13 seconds. Church threaded together a run of 55.48 seconds to maintain eighth place with a combined time of 1:51.45. Church is now ranked sixth in World Cup points.
“Kaillie (Humphries) was a huge help this week,” Kohn said. “She shared lines with Hunter and helped him feel comfortable. It was a team effort with Brian (Shimer), Kaillie and me, but it was all Hunter and his team today. The crew pushed really well, and Hunter did a great job against a very experienced field.”
Team Germany secured gold and silver medals on their home track today. Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Alexander Schueller and Thorsten Margis were in second place after the first heat, but the crew moved into the lead to claim gold in 1:50.53. First heat leaders Nico Walther, Paul Krenz, Joshua Bluhm and Eric Franke finished 0.20 seconds behind their teammates for the silver medal. Latvians Oskars Kibermanis, Lauris Kaufmanis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis denied Germany a sweep of the medals after moving up from fourth into bronze medal position with a combined time of 1:50.93.
Racing continues tomorrow with the women’s bobsled race at 10 a.m. local time, followed by a second four-man competition at 1:40 p.m. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app. Learn more at https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/events/detail/2020-ibsf-world-cup-winterberg/.
Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or firstname.lastname@example.org, with media inquiries.
1. Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Alexander Schueller and Thorsten Margis (GER) 1:50.53 (55.64, 54.89);
2. Nico Walther, Paul Krenz, Joshua Bluhm and Eric Franke (GER) 1:50.73 (55.50, 55.23);
3. Oskars Kibermanis, Lauris Kaufmanis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis (LAT) 1:50.93 (55.82, 55.11);
8. Hunter Church, Josh Williamson, Jimmy Reed and Kris Horn (USA) 1:51.45 (55.97, 55.48);
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.