It’s always great when your team plays “at home” and comes away with a win.  The USA Luge team, proudly sponsored by World Financial Group, did just that this Dec. 16-18 in Park City, Utah, in the fourth Nation and World Cup meet of the season. 

The women’s Nation Cup featured our first medalist of the weekend.  In her one run, Julia Clukey topped the medal stand with a time of 43.889 seconds.  Also sliding for the U.S. were Kate Hansen (44.260 seconds, 9th place) and Lea Vanderlinden (44.999, 12th place).  In the World Cup races, Julia finished fifth with a combined three-slide time of 1:27.485, just 0.41 seconds off the leader.  Not too far behind here was WFG-adopted athlete Ashley Walden, coming in eighth with a time of 1:27.738.  2009 World Cup champion Erin Hamlin finished in the Top 10 with a time of 1:27.750, securing 10th place.  And in her World Cup debut, Lea finished in the Top 20 with a time of 1:28.826, finishing 18th.  That’s three U.S. women in the Top 10!

The doubles team also topped the medal stand in the Nation Cup.  The team of Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall slid to gold with a one-slide time of 43.538 seconds.  Also placing in the Top 10 were Shane Hook and Zachary Clark (44.805, 7th place) as well as Tyler Anderson and Anthony Espinoza (45.056, 8th).  The World Cup races were incredibly tight.  Less than half a second separated the Top 8 teams.  Two of those teams came from USA Luge.  Matthew and Preston’s combined time of 1:27.579 earned them fifth place, only 0.248 seconds off the leaders.  Hot on their sled were Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman, sliding into sixth place with a time of 1:27.607.  Also sliding in the World Cup were Shane and Zachary who finished 15th with a time of 1:29.529.

The men’s Nation Cup results: WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden finished in the Top 10 with a run of 45.626 seconds, earning him 7th place.  Tyler Anderson competed as a solo and came in 12th with a time of 46.193 seconds.  Not far behind him was Vincent Simkin with a time of 46.449 seconds (14th).  Also competing solo was Anthony Espinoza with a time of 46.789 seconds (16th).  Joe Mortensen (46.936, 17th) and Trent Matheson (1:26.535, 20th) also slid.  USA Luge’s World Cup times saw Bengt (1:32.014, 19th), Joe Moretensen (1:32.927, 27th) and Tyler (1:33.845, 29th) compete.

The 2010-11 Luge season will take a break for the holidays.  But the track will become hot again on Jan. 5 when the team travels to Koenigssee, Germany.  Keep reading for all the latest news on “the fastest sport on ice”!

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