USA Luge Masters competition is contested in two divisions, a Masters division for athletes aged 30-54, and a Senior Masters division for athletes aged 55 and older. The U.S. National Masters Championships was determined by examining the overall times across both divisions.
Cool crisp temperatures, combined with dry air, an early morning start time and excellent ice preparation by the track crew yielded a fast course, with more than half the field posting personal best times during the race.
"The track was so fast," Arndt remarked. "I really rocketed through those final corners." Arndt, father of Junior National C team athlete Brittney Arndt, unseated 5-time Masters National Champion Carl Roepke by 0.424 seconds in only his second season of sliding. Jim Murphy of Brookline, N.H. finished third, a tenth of a second behind Roepke.
Jay Edmunds, also of Park City, captured the Gold Medal in the Senior Masters division for athletes aged 55 and older with a combined time of 1:25.552. Edmunds dominated the category, besting silver medalist Sherman Oaks, Calif. resident Stuart Goldfarb by 0.424 seconds. Bruce Norman of Burnt Hills, N.Y. was third, 0.529 behind Goldfarb. Norman overcame near calamity on his first run as he rolled hi sled exiting curve 13, but recovered to complete the heat. His efforts bettered those of Don Simkin, who was finished fourth with two personal-best runs.Dick Genovese of Rockford, Ill. celebrated his 45th season of racing by finishing fifth.
Arndt's victory in the Masters division secured him the National Championship title, while the drama played out behind him.
Carl Roepke, returning to the ice for the first time in two season, struggled in Turn 14 on his second run, collecting the right-hand wall hard on the exit, but recovering to complete the run.
Meanwhile, Jim Murphy nearly ended his day in Turn 13 on the first run, entering too early and being pitched nearly off the sled. However, he returned with a personal best second run that edged him ahead of Jay Edmunds by 0.001 for third in the overall Masters National Championships.
Three-time Olympian Bonnie Simi (Warner) of Park City, the only female athlete in the field, posted a fourth-place finish in the Masters division. Jim Waterhouse of Brooklyn, N.Y. rounded out the top 5 sliding on a sled he had partially constructed himself.
Above: 2014 Masters National Champion Jesse Arndt. Photo: Laura Murphy
Above: Left to right, Roepke, Arndt, and Murphy, the Masters National Championship podium. Photo: Laura Murphy
Above: The Senior Masters National Champions, left to right, Goldfarb, Edmunds and Norman. Photo: Laura Murphy