LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – A group of race veterans will lead the USA Luge National Team in the 2020-2021 World Cup and World Championship season. The team made the official announcement on Friday, May 1.
The national team is led by Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer, 2019 World Championship bronze medalist Emily Sweeney, fifth-ranked World Cup competitor Summer Britcher, three-time World Cup winner Tucker West, and World Cup and World Championship medalist Jayson Terdiman. In all, this collection of athletes totals 10 U.S. Olympic Teams. Additionally, Britcher, West and the doubles team of Mazdzer/Terdiman grabbed a World Championship bronze medal last season in the team relay.
Also named to the squad were 2020 overall Nations Cup winner Jonny Gustafson, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson, who all seek improvement and will strive to push their more seasoned teammates.
Mazdzer and Terdiman completed their second World Cup doubles campaign last year. Due to injuries to both, they raced less than a full World Cup season, but anchored the World Championship medal in Sochi. When the season ended, Mazdzer immediately underwent shoulder and elbow operations just prior to the shutdown of elective surgeries due to the coronavirus pandemic. He is now in rehabilitation.
Britcher scored four World Cup podium finishes last year as the top American woman, while Sweeney had three World Cup medals in an abbreviated season.
Gustafson and Arndt registered their first-ever top 10 World Cup results last winter, while Farquharson, fourth at the 2019 Junior World Championships, was a newcomer to the national team last season.
Another doubles team will join Mazdzer and Terdiman as Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger have graduated from the junior ranks. Kellogg and Segger won the season opening Junior World Cup event and had three World Cup starts at the close of the schedule and improved with each.
With a maximum number of starts, athletes from this group would compete in nine World Cup events and the 2021 World Championships in Whistler, Canada.
THE ENTIRE NATIONAL TEAM IS AS FOLLOWS:
--Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), 2018 Olympic silver medalist, three-time Olympian, 2020 World Championship bronze medalist
--Tucker West (Ridgefield, Conn.), three-time World Cup winner, two-time Olympian, 2020 World Championship bronze medalist, two World Cup silver medals last winter
--Jonny Gustafson (Massena, N.Y.), entering his third full season racing World Cup, 2020 Nations Cup champion, bronze medalist in 2020 U23 World Championships, two seventh place results in Sprint races are his career best results to date
--Jayson Terdiman (Berwick, Pa.), multiple winner of World Cup and World Championship medals, third place in 2016-2017 World Cup season, two-time Olympian now racing with his third doubles partner (Mazdzer), 2020 World Championship bronze medalist
--Summer Britcher (Glen Rock, Pa.), USA Luge all-time singles leader with five World Cup victories, fifth-ranked last year in the World Cup with three silver and one bronze medal, two-time Olympian, 2020 World Championship bronze medalist, third in the World Cup standings in 2018 and 2019
--Emily Sweeney (Lake Placid), two silver medals and one bronze in truncated 2019-2020 season, 2019 World Championship bronze medalist and 2018 World Cup bronze medalist (both achievements in an abbreviated 2018-2019 season), 2018 Olympian
--Brittney Arndt (Park City, Utah), 21st place in overall 2019-2020 World Cup standings, top individual results to date are fifth place in 2018 Lake Placid World Cup Sprint, sixth place in 2018 Lake Placid World Cup singles, 2019 Norton National Championship silver medalist
--Ashley Farquharson (Park City, Utah), 17th place in overall 2019-2020 World Cup rankings in her rookie season, fourth place in 2019-2020 Lake Placid Sprint race, fourth place in 2020 U23 World Championships, fourth place in 2019 Junior World Championships, Norton Junior National Champion from 2017-2019
--Dana Kellogg (Chesterfield, Mass) and Duncan Segger (Lake Placid), the young doubles team won the first Junior World Cup race of the year in Koenigssee, Germany, but by the second half of the year, they received three World Cup starts and showed steady progress with results of 20th, 16th and 11th places
--Chevonne Forgan (Chelmsford, Mass.), sixth place in opening Junior World Cup event in Koenigssee and moved up to the national team for several weeks at the end of last season
--Sean Hollander (Lake Placid), versatile athlete who can slide singles and doubles, three top ten results in 2019-2020 Junior World Cup singles races and a bronze medal in doubles, made his World Cup debut by qualifying for the 2020 season finale in Koenigssee
--Keaton Jens (St. Charles, Ill.), four top 15 results in last year’s Junior World Cup tour, fifth place in the 2020 Norton National Championships
Currently, the USA Luge coaching staff is working to create training environments in and around the COVID-19 pandemic. Scheduling and locations will take directives from the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Athletes, training on their own, and coaches are communicating in a variety of methods, from mobile phones to virtual group interfacing.