The World Financial Group-sponsored USA Luge team had their third World Cup and Nations Cup race of the season last weekend in Altenberg, Germany.
In the men’s Nation Cup race, USA Luge member Chris Mazdzer finished best among the team. His slide of 55.838 seconds, only 0.817 seconds off first place, earned him 15th place and a spot in the World Cup race later that day. Also qualifying for the World Cup race was WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden. He finished 18th with a time of 55.971 seconds. Trent Matheson finished 30th with a time of 56.754 seconds.
The women’s Nations Cup race featured three USA Luge team members. Leading the pack among them was Megan Sweeney. Her time of 54.323 seconds, only 0.679 seconds off the lead, was good enough for 10th place and a qualification for World Cup racing. Not too far behind Megan was her sister Emily. She finished in 14th place with a time of 54.500 seconds, which also qualified her for World Cup racing. WFG-adopted athlete Kate Hansen finished 24th with a time of 55.784 seconds. Sadly, Julia Clukey suffered an injury during training and had to withdraw.
The Doubles Nations Cup racing featured two USA Luge teams. Christian Niccum and Dan Joye finished fifth with a time of 42.774 seconds, only 0.158 seconds off first. Not far behind them were Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall with a time of 43.090 seconds for 8th place. Both teams qualified for the World Cup race.
In the World Cup men’s race, Tony Benshoof finished best among the US Men. His combined time of 1:49.517 earned him 10th place and was only 0.57 seconds out of first. WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden finished 18th with a time of 1:50.111. Chris Mazdzer was close behind Bengt with a time of 1:50.212 for 20th.
Women’s World Cup racing featured three USA Luge team members. Finishing best among them was Erin Hamlin. The current World Champion finished in 5th place with a combined time of 1:48.522, only 0.967 seconds away from first. Emily Sweeney’s 1:48.991 earned her 13th while her sister Megan came in 17th with a time of 1:49.407. With Erin’s run, she earned qualification for the USA Olympic Team. Way to go Erin!
Among the doubles World Cup sliders, USA’s Christian Niccum and Dan Joye finished best among the USA Luge team with a ninth place time of 1:25.086, only 0.626 seconds off first. WFG-adopted athletes Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin finished 15th with a time of 1:25.983. And doubles team Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall finished 20th with a time of 1:40.212.
Before the USA Luge team left Germany, a team relay race was held. The US team consisted of Tony for the men, Erin for the women and Christian and Dan for the doubles. The power of “the whoosh” was behind our relay racers as their combined time of 2:26.680 was only 0.938 seconds off of Germany’s first place run.
The WFG-sponsored Luge team will next visit Lillehammer, Norway for sliding on December 12 and 13. Keep reading here for all the latest on “the fastest sport on ice.”