U.S. rakes in gold at NA Cup finale
LAKE PLACID – United States bobsled and skeleton athletes collected eight medals in the North American Cup season finale Wednesday through Sunday at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
Men’s skeleton competitors Mike Rogals, Kyle Brown and Stephen Garbett combined efforts to complete a sweep of the medals on the second day of racing and contributed five medals to the overall count.
Women’s bobsledders Nicole Vogt and Megan Dovell paired together for a bronze medal,while Jay Noller, Dakarai Kongela, Jesse Beckom and T.J. Burns teamed together to earn two medals, silver and bronze, in the men’s bobsled competitions.
Rogals, a rookie, pocketed gold medals for the first time in his short career by earning double victories in the men’s skeleton races. Rogals won the first day with a total time of 1:50.06 and nabbed his second gold medal with a two-run total of 1:50.51.
Evan Neufeldt from Canada raced a silver medal performance the first day with a total time of 1:50.27 and American Brown claimed bronze after clocking 1:50.38.
Garebett and Brown helped Rogals complete a U.S. sweep on the second day of racing. Garbett claimed silver with a combined time of 1:50.65 while Brown posted an aggregate time of 1:51.37 for bronze.
Garbett finished just outside of the medals with a fourth place finish on the first day, and Trent Kraychir finished seventh both days.
There were not enough entrants in the women’s skeleton field to hold an official race. Per International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation rules, a minimum of six athletes from at least three nations must participate in order to hold a race. Seven athletes entered, but only from two nations.
Brittany Reinbolt and Valerie Smith led the U.S. women’s bobsledders with a fourth-place finish in the first race. They were on pace for a podium position in the finale, but they were disqualified after failing to pass sled inspection following the competition.
Brazilians Fabiana Santos and Sally Mavard da Silva swept the women’s races. Christine Bushie and Melissa Lowe from Canada were the first day’s silver medalists, while Kim and Shin earned third both days.
Vogt and Devall added a bronze medal to the overall Team USA medal count in the second women’s bobsled race. Vogt and Dovell raced to the finish in 2:01.68 to finish third behind the Brazilians and Koreans. Vogt teamed with Cherrelle Garrett in the first race for seventh.
Noller teamed with Kongela to finish sixth in the first men’s two-man bobsled race with a total time of 1:52.83. He was en route to another medal finish with Beckom in the second event, but a critical error out of exit 18 led to a crash and the team was unfortunately disqualified.
Yunjong Won and Youngwoo Seo from Korea swept the two-man races. Their teammates Donghyun Kim and Junglin Jun were second in the first competition and third the second day. The Japanese team of Hiroshi Suzuki and Hisashi Miyazaki were the bronze medalists in the first race, and moved up for silver in the final.
Colin Coughlin teamed with Sam Michener and David Cremin for eighth and seventh place finishes, respectively. Jake Peterson and Thomas Randall were ninth in the first race, but the pair was disqualified following sled inspection on the second day.
Noller continued to lead the men’s team in the four-man races. He teamed with Beckom, Kongela and returning veteran Burns for silver and bronze medals. The crew clocked a total time of 1:53.70 for second place in the first four-man race, and a run of 56.52 seconds in the shortened one-heat race the second day for third.
Won and his crew of Youngjin Suk, Junglin Jun and Seo were the first day victors. Suzuki, Toshiki Kuroiwa, Shintaro Sato and Miyaki were third on day one and victorious on day two. Australian Heath Spence teamed with Gareth Nichols, Duncan Harvey and Lucas Mata finished just ahead of Noller to nab silver in the final.
Coughlin, Cremin, Jerry North of Poughkeepsie and Michener finished seventh and fifth. Peterson finished 10th with his crew of Geoff Gadbois, Randall and Steve Mendelsohn of Lake Placid on day one and 10th again with Gadbois, Randall and Phil Harrington on day two.
The Lake Placid event concludes the North American Cup race series. Bree Schaaf and Codie Bascue missed the finale in Lake Placid, but still claimed the women’s and men’s four-man bobsled North American Cup titles, respectively. American Austin McCrary, who is now racing on the Intercontinental Cup tour, finished the season ranked third overall in men’s skeleton points. Gracie Clapp, who is also racing on the Intercontinental Cup this weekend, just missed the top three standings in fourth.