Dec 22, 2021
LAKE PLACID — USA Bobsled athletes collected 12 medals in the North American Cup finale held in Lake Placid from Dec. 18-20.
Nicole Vogt, of Dallas, Texas, swept the women’s bobsled races with three different push athletes — Jasmine Jones, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Emily Renna, of Fairport; and Nicole Brungardt, of Norfolk, Nebraska. Brittany Reinbolt, of Searcy, Arkansas, teamed up with the same push athletes on different days to earn three bronze medals and she claimed the overall two-woman bobsled North American Cup title.
Frank Del Duca, of Bethel, Maine, teamed up with Boone Niederhofer, of San Antonio, Texas; Adrian Adams, of Reidsville, North Carolina; and Kyle Wilcox, of Tampa, Florida, to take gold, silver and bronze medals in the four-man bobsled races, while Tyler Hickey, of Geneva, Illnois, and a combination of Martin Christofferson, of Rapid City, South Dakota; David Simon, of West Melbourne, Florida; Bryce Cheek, of Lewis Center, Ohio; and Manteo Mitchell, of Shelby, North Carolina, claimed silver and two bronze medals.
“I am so proud of the guys we raced with, and the entire North American Cup U.S. team,” Del Duca said in a statement. “Our race schedule was demanding, and the team gave their best the entire season. We competed hard, demanding the best from ourselves and those around us, self-funding the entire way to make dreams a reality. I will be forever grateful for all who competed with me and around me.”
Del Duca finished the North American Cup season with the two-man bobsled title, and he finished second in overall four-man bobsled points. The American was two points from the overall combined title, finishing only behind Canadian Taylor Austin. As a result of Del Duca’s performances this season, he and Wilcox were selected to race in the last two World Cup races of the 2021-2022 season.
“I wanted to end the four-man races with a win for the crew,” Del Duca said. “Some of us got called up to the World Cup, while some of us did not. I thought ending the North American Cup with a win, and potentially the four-man overall title would be a nice way to go out as a crew together. We missed out on that, but I’ll say the moment we shared at the start line before we raced and the finish dock after we raced was truly special.”
Del Duca, Niederhofer, Adams and Wilcox were three-tenths of a second ahead after the first heat in the first four-man race, but their team and several other sleds hit concrete and the heat was canceled as a result. A one-heat race was held later in the afternoon. The crew had the fastest start time of 5.13 seconds, and the third-best downtime of 55.98 seconds to take bronze.
Canadians Austin, Daniel Sunderland, Chris Patrician and Shaq Murray-Lawrence were victorious with a run of 55.88, followed by the U.S. sled of Hickey, Simon, Mitchell and Christofferson. The American team posted the third-best start of 5.16 and claimed silver with a run of 55.96 seconds.
“We did the best we could, but the technicality really hurt us that day,” Del Duca said. “That’s racing though, and I’m proud of our sled for coming back the next day and winning.”
Del Duca and his four-man crew rebounded in the second race, taking gold by a mere 0.01 seconds over the Canadians. The Americans were again fastest at the start with push times of 5.18 and 5.19 seconds for downtimes of 55.82 and 56.35 seconds, respectively. The Canadian team, led by Austin, claimed silver in 1:52.18, followed by Hickey, Christofferson, Cheek and Simon in third with a 1:53.00.
The Canadians took home gold in the season finale yesterday with a two-run total of 1:50.92. Del Duca, Wilcox, Niederhofer and Adams finished second with a combined time of 1:51.39. Hickey, Christofferson, Simon and Mitchell claimed bronze with an aggregate time of 1:51.40.
Del Duca credits his teammates for his success this season. He started the sport as a push athlete and transitioned to driving in 2018.
“These guys got behind the U.S. pilot with the least experience, went to one of the most demanding tracks in the world, and believed in themselves and the sled with everything they had,” Del Duca said. “They bring so much to a sled, both on and off the ice, and I simply can’t speak highly enough about them. They are the horsepower to the race car, and a critical part of the sled’s success so far this season.”
In the women’s field, Vogt was dominant with three different push athletes. She and Jones combined forces for the third-fastest start times of 5.81 and 5.78 seconds and the fastest downtimes of 58.45 and 58.64 seconds, respectively, to claim the first gold medal of the series.
Australians Ashleigh Werner and Tia-Clair Tommey claimed silver in 1:57.20, followed by Americans Reinbolt and Brungardt in third, just 0.07 seconds from silver, with a two-run total of 1:57.27.
Vogt and Brungardt were victorious on day two with a total time of 1:57.47. Werner and Tai-Clair were 0.04 seconds off the pace to claim silver. Reinbolt and Renna earned bronze with a cumulative time of 1:57.65.
Vogt completed her sweep of the women’s races yesterday with Renna after clocking a total time of 1:56.24. Werner and Toomey were again on Vogt’s heels, finishing just 0.02 seconds behind for the silver medal. Reinbolt and Jones took bronze in 1:56.37 and had the fastest start times of 5.76 seconds in both heats.
Newcomers Riley Compton, of Carmel, Illinois, and Mallory Bailey, of Orlando, Florida, competed together for an eighth and two ninth-place finishes. The Lake Placid event was Bailey’s debut.
The Lake Placid series was the North American Cup finale for the season. Reinbolt claimed the two-woman bobsled title by a margin of 44 points. Vogt, who missed three races due to an injury, finished the season ranked fifth, followed by Compton in sixth.
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