The USA Luge team, proudly sponsored by World Financial Group, spent their Thanksgiving weekend in Igls, Austria, in the opening matches of the 2010-11 season. How did our team do?
Nations Cup doubles racing saw a USA Luge team topping the medal stand! The team of Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman came in first with a time of 39.828 seconds. And not far behind were the team of Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall, whose 40.028 earned them fourth place. Alas, the teams could not duplicate their Nations Cup success in the World Cup races. Christian and Jayson’s combined time of 1:19.285 only earned them fifth place. Matthew and Preston’s 1:19.533 was good enough for ninth. Both teams were within 0.6 seconds off the leader, though.
For the women’s Nations Cup races, Julia Clukey was the top-ranked American. Her time of 40.243 sec. earned her fifth place. And this was only 0.15 sec. off the leader. Also ranking among the U.S. women were Emily Sweeney (combined 40.375 for 10th) and WFG-adopted athlete Ashley Walden (40.560 for 13th). This was also Ashley’s first race since back surgery earlier this year. In World Cup racing, USA’s Erin Hamlin found herself on the medal stand! Her combined three race time of 1:19.974 earned her third place and the bronze medal (only 0.38 sec. off gold). Not far behind her was Ashley, who took fifth place with a combined time of 1:20.091. Other ranking women sliders included Julia (1:20.399 for 11th) and Emily (1.22:584 for 22nd).
In men’s Nations Cup racing, WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden (and husband of Ashley) was tops among the USA men’s team. His combined time of 51.071 earned him seventh place, only 0.326 off the leader. Joe Mortensen’s time of 51.627 was good for 22nd and Trent Matheson’s 54.175 placed him 33rd. For the World Cup, only Bengt and Chris Mazdzer raced. Bengt earned 15th overall with a combined time of 1:41.210 (0.812 sec. off first) and Chris came in 32nd with a time of 2:05.887.
The final event in Igls was the relay race. The USA relay team of Erin, Bengt, Christian and Jayson crossed the finish line sixth with a time of 2:11.024, 1.505 sec. off the leader.
USA Luge returns to competition on Dec. 4-5 in Winterberg, Germany. World Financial Group wishes the USA Luge team continued success this season and beyond.