The World Financial Group (WFG)-sponsored USA Luge team compete in the Norton National Luge Championship on March 5, which determined who on the team would be the national champion. The events on Mount Van Hoovenberg in Lake Placid, NY held many exciting moments.
Among the women, the competition was very close. When the event concluded it was Erin Hamlin, the 2009 World Luge Champion, who had earned women’s national champion title for the fourth consecutive year, with a two-slide combined time of 1:29.581. Immediately on her heels was Emily Sweeney, whose 1:29.996 two-run race was less than a quarter of a second behind Erin, earning her the silver medal. Taking the bronze was World Financial Group (WFG)-adopted athlete Ashley Walden with a two-slide time of 1:30.459, just 0.878 seconds off Erin. Also sliding were Summer Britcher (1:30.469), Kate Hansen (1:30.631), Lea Vanderlinden (1:32.442), Rachel Germaine (1:33.473), Deborah Coblentz (1:33.630), Briana Munoz (1:33.644) and Theresa Buckley (1:34.357).
The men’s competition was an even closer slide down the ice. Chris Mazdzer repeated as the men’s national champion with a two-race time of 1:46.291. Robby Huerbin was very close to Chris’s time – less than a quarter of a second behind at 1:46.533 – to take silver. And earning the bronze after just returning to competition after a hand injury, was Taylor Morris with a time of 1:46.608, just 0.317 seconds off Chris. Four other competitors came within less than a second off the lead: Trent Matheson (1:46.821), World Financial Group (WFG)-adopted athlete Bengt Walden (1:47.144), Issac Underwood (1:47.194) and Joe Mortensen (1:47.199). Also sliding were Tucker West (1:47.713), Jonathan Myles (1:48.117), Aaron Barge (1:48.176), Anthony Espinoza (1:48.632), Vincent Simkin (1:48.985), Riley Stohr (1:50.978) and Levi Underwood (1:51.299).
For the Doubles race, three teams took to the course. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall won the National Championship title with a two-slide time of 1:29.567. Jacob Hyrns and Andrew Sherk took silver with a time of 1:30.308, and Shane Hook and Zac Clark won bronze with a time of 1:30.970.
Although the national champions have been determined, the US luge season is not over yet. Look for coverage on the USA Luge Norton National Seeding races right here on wfgsports.com!