US men place 22nd, 25th, and 26th in singles
KOENIGSSEE, Germany - USA Luge wrapped up a wet week in the Bavarian Alps Sunday by valiantly finishing fifth in the team relay. They were behind yet another victory by Germany in one of the new events to enter the Olympic program next February in Sochi, Russia.
The Germans swept everything this weekend in Berchtesgadener Land as they also saw David Moeller begin the day with a victory in men’s singles. The home team collected all the medals in Saturday’s women’s singles race, and finished 1-2 in doubles.
American men were led by 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer in 22nd place in the Sunday morning singles race. Joe Mortensen was 25th, and Taylor Morris, 17th at the intermission to lead the team at that stage, ultimately slipped to 26th.
The United States entry in the team relay was mostly new to this event on the international level. Julia Clukey, a 2010 Olympian and 2012 Norton National Champion, continued her consistent sliding by dominating the early interval times and scoring the third best women’s heat. Behind the Augusta, Maine slider were two sleds that were in a World Cup team relay for the first time.
Above: Taylor Morris in action on January 6 during the men’s luge World Cup. AP Photo
Morris, of South Jordan, Utah was followed by the young doubles team of Jake Hyrns, of Muskegon, Mich. and Andrew Sherk, of Fort Washington, Pa. All placed in the top 10 in their respective categories. Hyrns and Sherk had a career best 11th place Saturday.
Their combined time of two minutes, 46.192 seconds was nearly 2.5 seconds removed from the winners, but only 0.06 of a second from fourth place. Germany brought singles lugers Natalie Geisenberger and David Moeller, along with the doubles team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt - all winners on the weekend - to the post in the team relay.
The stacked squad delivered another virtuoso performance. Their aggregate time of 2:43.710 was 0.84 ahead of Canada, which was led by two-time World Cup winner Alex Gough. She had the best women’s time of the race. Their silver medal time was 2:44.554. Austria picked up the bronze in 2:45.242.
Germany has won all four relays to date and leads the overall World Cup standings with a perfect 400 points. Italy is second at 265, with Russia next at 241. The U.S. is seventh with 211 points.
Four years after winning the Whistler World Cup in western Canada, Moeller climbed to the top of the podium of a men’s singles race. It was the ninth career victory for the Vancouver Olympic silver medalist.
The 30 year old took the opening run lead with a heat time of 49.744 seconds down Koenigssee’s demanding, ever-changing track. His second run of 49.782 was second best but enough to hold off Russia’s Albert Demschenko. Moeller clocked a combined 1:39.526.
Demschenko, the 41 year old ageless wonder who took a silver medal in the 2006 Winter Games, had the second best overall time of 1:39.590.
Italian Dominick Fischnaller, heir-apparent to 39 year old, double Olympic champion Armin Zoeggeler, ended an outstanding week of training by taking the bronze medal for his first career podium.
Tour leader Felix Loch, also of Germany, had been battling a viral infection. The 2010 Olympic champion and defending World Champion took fourth place in the race. Loch’s World Cup leading total of 415 points has included two victories thus far.
Teammate Andi Langenhan, sixth Sunday, is second on the campaign with 350 points. Moeller’s victory gives him 343 points for third place.
Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., recorded a two-heat time of 1:41.016. He has 118 World Cup points for 18th place overall.
Joe Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. finished 25th in 1:41.160 in his first World Cup race of the year. His 16 points rank him 42nd.
Morris’ time was 1:41.192. He has 83 points for 25th place overall.
The World Cup tour now packs its bags for the five-hour trip north to Oberhof, Germany and next weekend’s meet. The U.S. women’s contingent will not include Emily Sweeney. The Suffield, Conn. racer is headed to Park City, Utah to prepare for the World Junior Championships on the 2002 Olympic track.
International training concludes Wednesday. Her travel and the time change notwithstanding, Sweeney hopes to join those sessions by Tuesday. Official junior worlds training commences thereafter. For the 19 year old, this will be her final year of participation at the younger level. Sweeney’s best results to date in this event are fifth, sixth and eighth places.
The competitions are mid-week events set for Jan. 15-16.
Complete relay and men’s results.