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U.S. Intercontinental Cup team posts three top-10 finishes in finale
PARK CITY, Utah (Jan. 12, 2014)- Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.), Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Allen Blackwell (Jackson, Miss.) led the U.S. skeleton Intercontinental Cup team in the finale with top-10 finishes this weekend. The last two races of the circuit took place on home ice in Park City, Utah from Jan. 11-12.
“It was a challenging season with injuries and retirements, but this allowed for some of our younger up-and-coming athletes the chance to get a taste of international competition,” said Brian McDonald, U.S. Intercontinental Cup coach. “They know it’s going to be challenging to be competitive at this level in the future, but it’s a challenge they all can’t wait to take on.”
O’Shea was Saturday’s best finisher for the U.S. women. The veteran athlete navigated the 2002 Olympic track for runs of 50.93 and 51.58 seconds for a total time of 1:42.51 for 10th place. Graybill was close behind in 13th with a two-run total of 1:42.75. Gracie Clapp (St. Johns, Fla.) finished 19th in her Intercontinental Cup debut.
Graybill bounced back to post the best finish for the Americans this weekend after sliding to ninth place today. Snow and wind shortened the women’s race to just one heat, and Graybill laid down her best effort to clock a time of 52.51 seconds. Graybill wrapped up the Intercontinental Cup tour as the top ranked American woman in 10th place.
“This weekend has been a little challenging,” Graybill said. “The track here in Park City is one where you need to dial back on your steering and find your rhythm. I had a bit of a hard time making those adjustments, especially coming from a track like Whistler. I was disappointed in my finish in the first race, and we had some crazy weather for our second race along with several delays. In the end I’m happy that I was able to push through the distractions we were faced with. However, I’m leaving here knowing that I still have quite a bit to learn on this track.”
O’Shea and Clapp struggled with the blustery conditions and tied each other for 16th with a time of 53.03 seconds.
“It felt like I was in a wind tunnel being slowed down the entire top of the track,” O’Shea said.
“Today’s race was clearly impacted by the weather,” McDonald said. “The snow came down with blowing winds, allowing some sliders a clean start and others a very snowed in groove, so the results varied quite extensively. Mother Nature reared her head today and we raced the best we could considering.”
Canadian Cassie Hawrysh swept the women’s races. She raced to a combined time of 1:40.80 to win the first competition, and was the fastest women in the second race with a time of 51.79 seconds.
German teammates Tina Hermann and Katharina Heinz slid a total time of 1:41.30 to tie for Saturday’s silver medal. British athlete Laura Deas claimed today’s silver with a time of 51.81 seconds, while Russian Olga Nikandrova clocked a run of 52.01 seconds to earn bronze.
Hermann won the Intercontinental Cup title with 686 points, followed by teammate Jacqueline Loelling in second with 672 points and Deas in third with 582 points.
Blackwell led the U.S. men’s skeleton team with 10th and 12th place finishes. He clocked a two-run total of 1:39.99 for his top-10 finish yesterday. The men were also impacted by today’s weather, and the jury decided to offer the second run to the top 10 finishers in the first run. Blackwell did not make the cutoff after posting the 12th fastest run of the first heat, 51.29 seconds. Blackwell finished the Intercontinental Cup season as the top ranked U.S. male in 11th.
Blackwell posted on Facebook that “after an amazingly fun and competitive season it has finally ended.” He wrapped up the year as the fourth ranked American male in international points, and thanked everyone that “watched, tweeted, texted, prayed and wished me luck. Your support means the world to me.”
Austin McCrary (Colleyville, Texas) stopped the clock in 1:40.40 to finish 16th yesterday, and was on the cusp of qualifying for a second heat today with the 11th best time in the first run, 51.27 seconds. Kevin McGlade (Stafford, Va.) made his debut this weekend and finished 22nd and 20th.
"I was just really happy being able to race in Park City again," McCrary said. "I was also happy with my first run during the first race, although this sport requires more than just one good run to do well and my second run could have been much better. Today was interesting to say the least. The weather was terrible and the race schedule was indescribable, but I got a good first run in. The race may have had obstacles, but I was happy with it."
“We were disappointed with the jury’s decision to cut the field to fewer athletes in the second heat and we had two athletes ready to crack into the top ten,” McDonald said. “I tried to reverse the decision, but it stood and the men ended up outside of the top ten on our home track. Most of the season has been incredibly good in terms of weather and competition, but here we learned that sometimes racing is not always fair when weather comes into play.”
Germany’s Alexander Gassner was yesterday’s victor with a total time of 1:38.68. Sunbgbin Yin from Korea posted a combined time of 1:38.72 for silver, and Russian Alexander Mutovin slid to the finish in 1:38.95 for third.
Russian Nikita Tregybov posted a two-run total of 1:39.96 to claim today’s win. Yun was again second with an aggregate time of 1:41.03, and Kilian von Schleinitz from Germany was third with a total time of 1:41.18.
Russians swept the top three men’s positions in overall Intercontinental Cup points. Alexander Mutovin claimed the overall title with 680 points. Tregybov wrapped up the season ranked second with 670 points, and Anton Batuev was third with 660 points.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Cassie Hawrysh (CAN) 1:40.80 (50.35, 50.45); 2. Tina Hermann (GER) 1:41.30 (50.64, 50.66); 2. Katharina Heinz (GER) 1:41.30 (50.71, 50.59);…10. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:42.51 (50.93, 51.58);…13. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:42.75 (51.48, 51.27);…19. Gracie Clapp (USA) 1:43.95 (52.11, 51.84);
Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Cassie Hawrysh (CAN) 51.79; 2. Laura Deas (GBR) 51.81; 3. Olga Nikandrova (RUS) 52.01;…9. Savannah Graybill (USA) 52.51;…16. Annie O’Shea (USA) 53.03; 16. Gracie Clapp (USA) 53.03;
Men’s skeleton race #1
1. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:38.68 (49.24, 49.44); 2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:38.72 (49.50, 49.22); 3. Alexander Mutovin (RUS) 1:38.95 (49.44, 49.51);…10. Allen Blackwell (USA) 1:39.99 (49.78, 50.21);…16. Austin McCrary (USA) 1:40.40 (49.99, 50.41);…22. Kevin McGlade (USA) (51.11, DNS);
Men’s skeleton race #2
1. Nikita Tregybov (RUS) 1:39.96 (49.84, 50.12); 2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:41.03 (50.83, 50.20); 3. Kilian von Schleinitz (GER) 1:41.18 (50.89, 50.29);…11. Austin McCrary (USA) 51.27;…12. Allen Blackwell (USA) 51.29;…20. Kevin McGlade (USA) 52.15;
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