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Mazdzer leads Americans in singles luge

January 21, 2012
By the Enterprise staff (sports@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Vancouver Olympian Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake led three Americans in singles qualification Friday at a Nations Cup event in Winterberg, Germany. Mazdzer, who was 14th in last weekend's World Cup in Oberhof, Germany, finished sixth in the men's field.

Kate Hansen, the 2008 World Junior champion from La Canada, Calif., was 10th, while Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., took 14th.

Both United States doubles teams and Erin Hamlin were exempt from qualifying due to their "A" seed World Cup rank.

Matt Mortensen and 2006 Olympian Preston Griffall received a bye as did Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman. Niccum and Terdiman are 10th overall, while Mortensen and Griffall are right behind them. Hamlin, a native of Remsen who was the 2009 world champion, is ranked seventh.

World Cup doubles and women's singles will be contested today in this winter resort.

Mortensen's brother Joe, also of Huntington Station, N.Y., and Taylor Morris placed outside the Nations Cup top 20 and did not advance to the men's singles World Cup race on Sunday.

Germany's Robert Fischer led the men's Nations Cup with a time of 53.390 seconds. The winner finished 0.11 ahead of teammate and three-time World Junior Champion Julian von Schleinitz.

Switzerland's Gregory Carigiet, who trains with Germany, was third in 53.566.

Mazdzer, who finished 13th at the 2010 Winter Olympics, clocked a time of 53.648. He has posted three 14th place finishes which are his top World Cup efforts.

Hansen's eighth place one week ago in Oberhof was the best of her budding career. The 19-year-old was timed in 58.693 after showing the fourth fastest start time in the field.

Sweeney, 18, recorded a 59.031. She, too, was quick off the start handles. Hansen and Sweeney are among the Junior World Cup leaders. The latter has two victories on the younger circuit, while Hansen has been consistently in the medals, topped by a silver medal last month.

Canadian Arianne Jones won the Nations Cup event in 58.106. Maija Tiruma, of Latvia, was runner-up in 58.297, with Carina Schwab, of Germany, third in 58.306.

The doubles event was taken by Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber in 44.211. They tallied a 0.004 of a second win over Germans Ronny Pietrasik and Christian Weise.

The most notable story from the Nations Cup doubles race surrounded the continuing comeback story of Andris and Juris Sics, who were fourth on Friday. The Latvians, winners of the 2010 Olympic silver medal, were set back over eight months ago when Juris Sics suffered an horrific car accident while driving home from a training session.

The resulting surgeries have limited the team's performances.

The Winterberg World Cup counts down to the 2012 World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, Feb. 10-12. The St. Moritz, Switzerland World Cup is slated for Jan. 27-29. The weekend of Feb. 3-5 is open.

German sliders Felix Loch and Tatjana Huefner, both 2010 Olympic gold medalists, are atop the men's and women's World Cup overall singles standings, respectively. Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, of Austria, lead the doubles list. Germany can mathematically close out the competition in the team relay and clinch the World Cup crown Sunday in that discipline.

 
 

 

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