PARK CITY, Utah – A pair of siblings from Park City, Utah took the Youth A Norton National Luge Championship titles at the Utah Olympic Park on March 1, marking the first time in USA Luge history a brother and sister took National titles in the same year. The event was held on the 2002 Olympic course, featuring boys and girls born between 1997-2000.
To determine the Youth National Championship, two races (featuring two heats) were held on February 28 and March 1, respectively. The lowest combined time over the four runs crowned the champions, while the individual races are used to determine national seeding points.
Ashley Farquharson posted the fastest time in three of the four heats, winning both races and the Youth A title with a time of 2:51.049. Park City’s Brittney Arndt was second in both competitions, with a 2:51.318. Another Park City resident, Mackenzie Rice, took the bronze in the overall competition and in both events. Her combined time was 2:51.527.
Ashley’s brother Jake stood in second place after the first day of competition, but moved up a place in the standings following the disqualification of Elijah Pedriani of New Haven, Vt. during his first heat of day two, following a weight infraction. Farquharson won both heats on day two and clocked a time of 3:01.160. Justin Taylor of Newark, Del. was second in 3:03.588, while Liam Chaskey of Plattsburgh, N.Y. was third in 3:04.757.
The doubles competition, Blake Hagberg of New Hartford, N.Y. and Justin Taylor took their first title together. They won both races, though in the case of the doubles event, the March 1 race counted as the National Championship event. Their National Championship time was 1:25.311, with Jake Farquharson and Christian Colaiezzi of Scranton, Pa. taking silver in 1:25.589. Duncan Biles of Herriman, Utah and Alanson Owen of Park City, Utah were third in 1:26.955.
Youth B competitions featured athletes born between 2001-2002. In the women’s division, Ray Brook, N.Y. native Sophia Kirkby won her third consecutive Youth B title in 2:55.055. She was the fastest in all four heats of racing. Courtney Sepucha of Concord, Mass. took the silver medal overall and in both races, posting 1:28.220. The bronze medalist overall and in both races was Selena Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y. with 1:30.017.
The Youth B men’s race featured a showdown between Zach DiGregorio of Medway, Mass. and Garrett Gorsch of Park City, Utah. DiGregorio took the lead after the first day, with Gorsch bouncing back to win day two, though he did not have enough of a margin to take the title. DiGregorio’s winning time was 2:52.595, while Gorsch posted a silver medal winning time of 2:52.919. Third place went to Duncan Segger of Lake Placid, who posted a remarkable 2:54.694, despite being in the midst of chemotherapy treatments for Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The Utah Olympic Park will host the Norton Junior National Championships next weekend. The first race will begin at 10 AM MT on Saturday, March 7, with the second race kicking off at 3 PM MT on Sunday, March 8. Each day’s action can be seen live at www.usaluge.org.