Henry and Uhlaender tie for women’s skeleton victory with track record runs;Florian breaks record
PARK CITY, Utah (March 3, 2021)– Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) posted the same time in both heats to not only set a new Park City track record, but to tie for the win in the first women’s skeleton team trials race for the 2021-2022 season. Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) also set a new track record en route to winning the men’s race.
Today’s two runs will be combined with tomorrow’s two-heat race to determine the 2021 USA Skeleton National Champions. Team trials will continue with two additional races in Lake Placid, N.Y. as athletes work towards earning a spot on the 2021-2022 National Team.
The former women’s record of 49.74 seconds was set in a 2013 World Cup race by Noelle Pikus-Pace. Henry was the first competitor to take a run in the women’s race, and she obliterated the record by 0.32 seconds with a downtime of 49.42 seconds. Uhlaender was the next racer to take a run, and she matched Henry’s time of 49.42 seconds.
“I was pretty close to the track record in training, so I knew it was possible today,” Uhlaender said. “I was a little nervous though. I might have over-drove a tad- like coming out of corner 14, I skid in the first run, so I was so stoked to see I had tied Megan.”
“I went into training keeping things simple and was able to progress every day,” Henry said. “My goal was to slide in the 49.00s, and push in the 4.90s, but I didn’t know we were going to shatter Noelle’s track record. Thank you track crew, it is a huge honor.”
Uhlaender was the first of the two racers to take a second run. She slid to the finish in 49.57 seconds, and waited to see how her combined time of 1:38.99 would stack up to Henry. Henry met her goal to push under five seconds in the final heat, posting a start time of 4.98 seconds. She raced to the finish in 49.57 seconds, matching Uhlaender down to the hundredth of a second. Henry and Uhlaender tied for first place.
“I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw we tied again,” Uhlaender said. “It was great racing. Everyone is super rad and supportive, we’re having a good time.”
“Katie and I both laughed at the bottom that the second run was also a tie,” Henry said. “I tapped the wall before 15 and thought that could have cost me the win. Honestly, I’m so happy regardless. It was such a weird year and I had the least amount of sliding days compared to everyone, so to be able to perform here during these trials is very humbling. I am so grateful.”
Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) posted the fourth fastest runs of both heats to finish third with a combined time of 1:39.74. Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) finished fourth with a two-run total of 1:39.75, followed by Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.) in fifth with a 1:39.78, and Sara Roderick (Truro, Mass.) in sixth with a 1:39.86. Ro was the fastest starter of the women’s race with a push time of 4.96 seconds in the second heat.
Florian set the pace in the men’s race by breaking the track record of 48.50 seconds set by reigning Olympic champion Sungbin Yun in a 2017 World Cup race. Florian set a new record of 48.48 seconds to establish himself as the leader in the first heat.
“It’s pretty wild,” Florian said. “I had a feeling it was going to be close to record speeds, but I wasn’t sure we were going to break it. I knew it was a good run, and I came down and saw that time and I was pretty stoked.”
Florian secured his win with the fastest run of 48.53 seconds in the final run to take the first team trials win with a combined time of 1:37.01.
Florian was dominant from start to finish with the quickest push times of 4.61 and 4.56 seconds today. He felt like his push times were lacking over the last year, and has worked to improve his running and lifting program throughout the season.
“It’s back on track, and we’re making sure it’s right every day and that I stay healthy,” Florian said.
Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) was 0.26 seconds off the pace for second place with a combined time of 1:37.27. John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) finished third with an aggregate time of 1:37.49.
Daniel Barefoot (Johnstown, Pa.) tallied a total time of 1:37.80 to finish fourth, followed by Stephen Garbett (Parker, Colo.) in fifth with a 1:38.32, and Hunter Williams (Carnegie, Penn.) in sixth with a 1:38.45.
Team trials continue tomorrow in Park City with the four-man bobsled competition at noon, women’s monobob at 2 p.m. and the skeleton races at 5:30 p.m. All times listed are MST.
Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or email@example.com, with media inquiries.
Women’s race #1
1. Megan Henry 1:38.99 (49.42, 49.57);
1. Katie Uhlaender 1:38.99 (49.42, 49.57);
3. Kendall Wesenberg 1:39.74 (49.75, 49.99);
4. Mystique Ro 1:39.75 (49.78, 49.97);
5. Kelly Curtis 1:39.78 (49.74, 50.04);
6. Sara Roderick 1:39.86 (49.82, 50.04);
7. Savannah Graybill 1:40.03 (49.99, 50.04);
8. Michelle Toukan 1:41.59 (50.70, 50.89);
9. Leah Fair 1:43.56 (52.04, 51.52);
Men’s race #1
1. Austin Florian 1:37.01 (48.48, 48.53);
2. Andrew Blaser 1:37.27 (48.54, 48.73);
3. John Daly 1:37.49 (48.70, 48.79);
4. Daniel Barefoot 1:37.80 (48.80, 49.00);
5. Stephen Garbett 1:38.32 (48.97, 49.35);
6. Hunter Williams 1:38.45 (49.19, 49.26);
7. Mike Rogals 1:38.57 (49.26, 49.31);
8. Kyler Sultemeier 1:39.42 (49.54, 49.88);
9. Chris Strup 1:39.51 (49.96, 49.55);
10. Alex Ivanov 1:40.01 (49.70, 50.31);
11. David Demarco 1:40.26 (49.75, 50.51);
About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.
Source: Amanda Bird, for TeamUSA