LAKE PLACID, New York — Sochi Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin headlines the team scheduled to hit the ice when the luge World Cup kicks off Nov. 29-30 in Igls, Austria. Six of her fellow Sochi Olympians were also named to teams within the USA Luge structure.
Hamlin, of Remsen, New York, a three-time Olympian and 2009 World Champion, will mark her 10th year of racing as a member of the national team this season. She will be joined by Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, native and 2014 Olympian Summer Britcher, who finished 15th in Sochi.
Julia Clukey of Augusta, a 2010 Olympian and World Cup medalist who missed the Sochi 2014 squad by .01 of a second in the final qualifying race, and 2013 Junior World Champion Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Connecticut, also earned slots on the fall team.
Hamlin, Clukey and men’s team member Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, New York, are guaranteed slots on the team, after winning medals in major international competitions in the past two seasons.
Kate Hansen of La Canada, California, has decided to take a year off from competitive sliding while she studies at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hansen placed 10th in Sochi and won her first-ever World Cup at the final event of the 2013-14 season.
Jake Hyrns of Muskegon, Michigan, and Andrew Sherk of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 2010-11 overall junior World Cup winners, return to the team after being edged out for a slot in Sochi.
The newly formed duo of Matt Mortensen of Huntington Station, New York, and Jayson Terdiman of Berwick, Pennsylvania, will race together next season for the first time. Both competed in Sochi last February, but with different teammates.
Mortensen raced with Salt Lake City, Utah, native and two-time Olympian Preston Griffall, who has opted to focus on school and sliding in Park City for the season, while Jayson Terdiman’s former teammate Christian Niccum of Woodinville, Washington, a three-time Olympian, has retired from the sport. Niccum and Terdiman finished 11th in Sochi, while Mortensen and Griffall were 14th.
Park City Utah’s Anthony Espinoza, who raced with Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah, prior to his retirement from the sport, was placed on the team, with the assumption that he will find a new doubles teammate.
In men’s singles, Mazdzer returns after the most successful World Cup campaign of his career. Mazdzer notched two silver medals en route to finishing fifth in the overall standings. Mazdzer’s Sochi teammates, Tucker West of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and Aidan Kelly of West Islip, New York, will return this fall to the team.
West, who placed 22nd at the Sochi Olympics, is still also a member of the Junior National Team, though he will spend the vast majority of his time on the National Team. Kelly, who placed 24th in Sochi, graduates to the National Team on a full-time basis. Taylor Morris of South Jordan, Utah, who took the silver medal in the 2013 U-23 World Championships, rounds out the team.
Team race-offs will be held in October to determine who will compete in the fall World Cups. Hamlin, Clukey and Mazdzer are guaranteed slots on the team, after winning medals in major international competitions in the past two seasons. The locations, dates, times and formats will be released in the near future.