Farquharson, DiGregorio, Kellogg-Segger triumphant on first day of Norton Junior National Championships and Seeding Races

By Sandy Caligiore | March 09, 2019, 4:25 p.m. (ET)

PARK CITY, Utah – USA Luge juniors Ashley Farquharson, Zachary DiGregorio and the doubles team of Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger took Norton Seeding Race victories Saturday in their respective divisions at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City.

This resort destination in the Wasatch received ample snowfall during the week, but race day broke partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-20s. The singles athletes raced out to the halfway lead as they strive to win a Norton National Championship on the 2002 Olympic track.

Farquharson, on her home course, is enjoying the final days of her junior career, and opened with a gold medal by almost 0.9 of a second over Sophie Kirkby, of Ray Brook, N.Y. Kirkby, last weekend’s Norton Youth A National Champion, is one of numerous athletes racing up in age group this weekend.

DiGregorio, of Medway, Mass., took the measure of Sean Hollander, of Lake Placid, by over 0.6 of a second in an event that saw three athletes not complete the race. Sam Eckert, of Wilmington, N.Y., did not finish his first heat; Matt Greiner, of Park City, was disqualified for exceeding his total allowable weight (sled and athlete); and Sean Rogers, from Fanwood, N.J., was disqualified for having steel running surfaces that were too warm.

These developments remove Eckert, Greiner and Rogers from national championship consideration, but they can score seeding points on Sunday afternoon. The three-races-in-two format has separate seeding races each day with the total of the four runs determining the winner in singles. The singles schedule mirrors the Olympic format of the four attempts spread over two days.

Doubles presents a slightly different format, as there are daily seeding races, but the National Championship event only takes place on the second day, giving Sunday’s results double significance.

You could actually say the 2019 Norton doubles races have quadruple significance, as the three-sled field included the youth women’s doubles team of Maya Chan and Reannyn Weiler going against Kellogg and Seeger, as well as Sam Day and Michael O’Gara. It also marked the first race for the young ladies from the junior doubles start, and coincidentally, occurred 24 hours after International Women’s Day.

Chan, of Chicago, and Weiler, of Whitesboro, N.Y., had a collection of youth women’s World Cup medals this season, including one at St. Moritz, site of the 2020 Youth Olympic Games.

Farquharson finished fourth in the 2019 Junior World Championships and fourth in a Junior World Cup race in Winterberg, her highwater marks this season. The Parkite holds a comfortable overnight lead and will seek her third straight U.S. junior title.

Her two heats – the best individual runs of the division - totaled 1 minute, 30.756 seconds. Kirkby clocked 1:31.647, while Chevonne Forgan, of Chelmsford, Mass., was third in 1:32.005.

DiGregorio also had the two fastest runs of the day in totaling 1:44.573. His competition with Hollander was much tighter at the midpoint of the day, but the winner found more speed and a faster time in the final run to pull away. Hollander’s time was 1:45.207.

Third place went to Keaton Jens, of St. Charles, Ill., nearly a second behind DiGregorio. Last week’s Norton youth champion, Ian Smith, of Carlisle, Mass., slipped from third to fourth in the second run.

Kellogg, of Chesterfield, Mass., and Segger, of Lake Placid, dominated in 1:31.221, leading both heats from start to finish. Day, of Wantagh, N.Y., and O’Gara, from La Crescenta, Calif., won a youth World Cup doubles medal last month. They clocked 1:32.447 for second place. Chan and Weiler were next in 1:34.301.

Sunday’s second junior seeding race and the crowning of the Norton national champions will begin at 1 PM MT / 3 PM ET with live streaming available on USALuge.org.

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