OBERHOF, Germany - United States junior lugers scored two podium results Friday as the Junior World Cup tour resumed in Oberhof, Germany.
In a pair of very tight races that concluded in light snow, Riley Stohr collected a silver medal in men’s youth singles, while the junior doubles team of Ty Andersen and Anthony Espinoza, as they did at the recent Junior World Championships, took bronze.
The youth division is for athletes to the age of 18, while junior racers can be no older than 20.
Stohr, of Whitehall, Mich. took two diverse trips down the Oberhof track, putting himself in second place after one heat, only 0.02 of a second off the lead of Anton Schreiber, of Germany. But Stohr hit a wall to begin his second run, gave up more time thereafter, and then rallied to hold onto the silver medal.
His two-run time was one minute, 25.458 seconds.
"This was a pretty good race for me," said Stohr, who earlier in the season put himself in position to medal before stumbling in the final heat. "I had a great start in the first run but some problems coming out of the Kriesel (a turn where the exit wraps under or over the entrance)."
Schreiber held on for victory in 1:25.421.
"I was surprised," continued Stohr. "After the training I was not expecting a top six. But I just tried my best, stayed focused and didn’t pay attention to other racers."
Russian Evgeny Evdokimov took the bronze in 1:25.570.
The closeness of the doubles race in Oberhof was reminiscent of the Junior World Championship event in mid-January in Park City, Utah. There, the top three were separated by only 0.03 of a second, with the Americans occupying the bronze position.
Andersen and Espinoza, from the start, dominated the split times of both heats Friday, but just gave up miniscule fractions in the lower sections.
"It’s always a good, tight race in doubles and anything can happen," said Andersen, the front driver, from Alpine, Utah. "When you see places changing from run to run, you know it’s going to be close."
It certainly was. Germany’s Julius Loeffler and Florian Kuechler, the 2013 World Junior Championship silver medalists edged teammates Florian Loeffler and Manuel Stiebing by a scant 0.002 of a second. Andersen and Espinoza were next, 0.03 from the top.
"The first run was good...pretty smooth," said Espinoza, of Park City, Utah. "We had a little trouble down below but nothing big. Ty felt the trouble, and then it was hard to focus up ahead."
The winners clocked two heats totaling 1:19.589. Loeffler and Stiebing recorded 1:19.591. Andersen and Espinoza had the bronze medal time of 1:19.621.
"We’re trying to knock out those last few hundredths of a second," added Andersen, the tallest man in luge at 6-foot-7. "I just have to trust myself on the sled. I’m a control freak and I’ve just got to let it go."
His teammate, who mans the back of the sled, added: "It’s frustrating having it so close. But this is motivation."
They will get another chance Saturday in the team competition after the junior singles races are contested.
In youth events, Theresa Buckley took fifth in women’s singles, while the doubles team of Justin Krewson and Tristan Jeskanen, also placed fifth, in doubles.
Buckley, from Allentown, Pa., staged a comeback from 10th place in the final heat with the fourth fastest run. The winner last week in Calgary, Buckley registered 1:21.387 for her two attempts. She finished 1.4 seconds from winner Jessica Tiebel of Germany.
Krewson, of Eastport, N.Y. and Jeskanen, of Peru, N.Y. raced the shortened youth doubles track in 1:11.933. This is the first year together for Krewson and Jeskanen. Nico Semler and Johannes Pfeiffer, of Germany, were the gold medal winners in 1:10.354.