Uhlaender earns bronze for USA Skeleton in Winterberg Intercontinental Cup
WINTERBERG, Germany (Dec. 8, 2019)– After sweeping the North American Cup races in Lake Placid, N.Y., Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) is back on the podium on the Intercontinental Cup circuit with a bronze medal finish in Winterberg. Uhlaender has now medaled in 11 of the 17 Intercontinental Cup races she entered in her career. One of the U.S. program’s up-and-coming athletes, Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.), was close behind in fourth.
“I have to say the team atmosphere has been amazing, and having Matt (Antoine) as a coach has been so uplifting and transformative,” Uhlaender said.
The Intercontinental Cup took place yesterday, while the skeleton European Cup kicked off its season in Winterberg today.
Uhlaender skipped the season opening Intercontinental Cup in Sochi, Russia in favor of racing in the first North American Cup of the season in Lake Placid. The 16-year veteran was in fourth place after a first heat time of 58.99 seconds, but she climbed into medal position with the third fastest time of 58.87 seconds in the final heat. Uhlaender captured bronze with a total time of 1:57.86. The three-time Olympian also clocked some of the fastest push times of the competition with starts of 5.44 and 5.47 seconds.
“My push seems to be coming back along with the feeling on my sled,” Uhlaender said. “This will be a fun and great journey to return to the world stage.”
Curtis once again turned heads by finishing just behind Uhlaender in fourth place. This was the third track Curtis has learned in a matter of three weeks. She’s only raced on North American tracks prior to this season.
“I struggled piecing this one together during the training runs,” Curtis said. “Matt (Antoine) was once again extremely helpful breaking down the track so I could relatively piece it together on race day.”
Curtis clocked start times of 5.55 and 5.52 for runs of 59.01 and 59.36 seconds, respectively, to finish fourth in 1:58.37.
“It felt great to put down a couple of competitive runs and I'm looking forward to coming back here with a better understanding of the track,” Curtis said. “Overall, I'm feeling very grateful to have this opportunity to learn four new tracks and compete for Team USA.”
Team Germany claimed gold and silver in the women’s race. Susanne Kreher and Hannah Neise were 1-2 with combined times of 1:57.29 and 1:57.52, respectively.
Rookie athlete Sara Roderick (Truro, Mass.) finished 10th with an aggregate time of 1:58.74. Roderick was speedy at the start with push times of 5.44 and 5.42 seconds. She posted run times of 59.15 and 59.59 seconds in her first race on the German track.
Uhlaender said she’s excited to race in Koenigssee, Germany next week before the holiday break, mainly because the team will be staying together.
“We are having the time of our lives together,” Uhlaender said. “We are self-funded and it makes things cheaper, and without the support of the Level Field Fund I wouldn’t have been able to return to the sport.”
In the women’s European Cup race today, Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) and Kristen Hurley (Columbia, Conn.) put together strong 10th and 13th place finishes, respectively.
Ro is one of the fastest starters, and she proved it again today by clocking the fastest push time of 5.40 seconds in the second heat. She crossed the finish line in 59.48 and 1:00.27 for a total time of 1:59.75 for a top-10 finish.
Hurley finished 13th with a combined time of 2:00.21 after sliding runs of 59.81 and 1:00.40. Winterberg was also the third new track for Hurley in the last three weeks. She said she enjoys learning new tracks because there is “so much to take in and no preconceived notions or expectations.”
British athletes claimed the gold and silver medals. Hannah Stevenson earned gold in 1:58.68, while Amelia Coltman took silver in 1:58.80. Hanna Staub of Germany finished third in 1:58.99.
The U.S. men finished 13-15-18 in the Intercontinental Cup race. Mike Rogals (Orwell, Vt.) was the top finisher in 13th with a combined time of 1:57.07. Rogals pushed a start time of 5.34 seconds for the 13th best downtime of 58.63 seconds in heat one. He bettered his start by one-tenth of a second in run two for the ninth best time of the heat, 58.44 seconds.
Stephen Garbett (Parker, Colo.) finished 15th with a two-run combined time of 1:57.13. Garbett clocked start times of 5.19 and 5.12 for runs of 58.46 and 58.67, respectively. His first run was ninth best of the heat, but he dropped six spots in the second heat.
Daniel Barefoot (Johnstown, Pa.) made his Intercontinental Cup debut in Winterberg. The rookie crossed the finish line in 58.99 and 58.90 seconds for a combined time of 1:57.89 to finish 18th. Barefoot posted push times of 5.09 and 5.13 seconds.
Christopher Grotheer from Germany was victorious in 1:55.65, followed by Kilian Von Schleinitz, also from Germany, in second with a combined time of 1:55.71. Jerry Rice from Great Britain finished third in 1:55.77.
Austin McCrary (Colleyville, Texas) was the sole American in the men’s European Cup race today. Only the first run was counted due to weather conditions. McCrary clocked a start time of 5.43 seconds for a run of 59.69 seconds to finish 18th.
Team Germany swept the race. Lukas Nydegger took gold in 58.01, followed by Felix Seibel in second with a run of 58.18, and Martin Rosenberger in third with a time of 58.25.
The Intercontinental Cup and skeleton European Cup will make its next stop together in Koenigssee with competitions on Dec. 14 and 15.
“It’s been really fun doubling up on races in the same location as the Intercontinental Cup team and having Kelly, Sara, Katie, Mike, Steve, and Dan for support,” Hurley said. “They all came out to our race today to cheer us on and help with sleds, which was awesome.”
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Women’s Intercontinental Cup
1. Susanne Kreher (GER) 1:57.29 (58.49, 58.80);
2. Hannah Neise (GER) 1:57.52 (58.68, 58.84);
3. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:57.86 (58.99, 58.87);
4. Kelly Curtis (USA) 1:58.37 (59.01, 59.36);
10. Sara Roderick (USA) 1:58.74 (59.15, 59.59);
Women’s European Cup
1. Hannah Stevenson (GBR) 1:58.68 (59.07, 59.61);
2. Amelia Coltman (GBR) 1:58.80 (59.19, 59.61);
3. Hanna Staub (GER) 1:58.99 (59.44, 59.55);
10. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:59.75 (59.48, 1:00.27);
13. Kristen Hurley (USA) 2:00.21 (59.81, 1:00.40);
Men’s Intercontinental Cup
1. Christopher Grotheer (GER) 1:55.65 (57.62, 58.03);
2. Kilian Von Schleinitz (GER) 1:55.71 (57.67, 58.04);
3. Jerry Rice (GBR) 1:55.77 (57.63, 58.14);
13. Mike Rogals (USA) 1:57.07 (58.63, 58.44);
15. Stephen Garbett (USA) 1:57.13 (58.46, 58.67);
18. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:57.89 (58.99, 58.90);
Men’s European Cup
1. Lukas Nydegger (GER) 58.01;
2. Felix Seibel (GER) 58.18;
3. Martin Rosenberger (GER) 58.25;
18. Austin McCrary 59.69;
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Source: Team USA