Youth lugers win medals in Utah 

Shippit wins third consecutive singles race

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM WATTS - DOMINANT IN UTAH Local lugers Adam Shippit (centre) and Matt Riddle (right) are shown on the podium at Park City, Utah with American Elijah Pedriani, who was the silver medalist in the youth A men's singles event.
  • DOMINANT IN UTAH Local lugers Adam Shippit (centre) and Matt Riddle (right) are shown on the podium at Park City, Utah with American Elijah Pedriani, who was the silver medalist in the youth A men's singles event.

Carrying over from the season opener here in Whistler earlier this month, local lugers captured more medals in Park City, Utah on Dec. 15 and 16.

Notably, Adam Shippit remained undefeated in the youth A men's division, winning his third gold in a row. The Pemberton product's time of one minute, 29.490 seconds bested American Elijah Pedriani by 0.099 seconds.

Shippit said he was able to make the little necessary adjustments like finding just the right lines on the track and having his head in optimum position to cruise to victory.

"I just had really good runs to the race. It was a good week for me, I think," he said. "I just had to block out everything else and get to know this new track, get to know ways to go faster."

The artificial track portion of the World Cup chase will resume in Oberhof, Germany on Jan. 24 and 25.

Having won half the races on the year already, Shippit is feeling good heading into the European portion of the schedule.

"I'm so pumped for Europe and I have more confidence in myself to do better," he said. "It'll give us a fairly different experience not knowing some of the tracks out there."

Whistler's Matt Riddle took the bronze with a 1:30.199, while Squamish's Nicky Klimchuk-Brown finished eighth with a 1:31.361. Whistler's Reid Watts did not finish.

"My runs during the singles weren't ideal, but I was pretty surprised at how well I did," Riddle said. "It was surprising to see how not-the-greatest runs had such an outcome.

"The runs themselves were clean — I made it down the track — but it wasn't smooth in my eyes. Going around the corners, it wasn't as smooth as it could have been."

In the overall standings, Shippit has a perfect 300 points to Riddle's 201. Klimchuk-Brown is fifth with 172 points and Watts is sixth with 155 points.

Watts didn't leave Utah empty-handed, though, as he and Riddle earned gold in the youth A doubles category. The pair posted a time of 1:25.130, which was 0.974 seconds better than another local duo of Nicky Klimchuk-Brown and Lucas Gebauer-Barrett and 0.990 seconds better than third-place finishers Evan Wildman and Heath Karpyshyn of Calgary.

Watts said while he and Riddle were generally satisfied with their showing, there's still room for improvement.

"We had two pretty solid runs," Watts said. "We could pull a lot better starts, though – get a lot more technique work (in).

"But it still felt good and it was awesome to be solid on a totally new track."

Watts said while he'd been to the Park City facility before, it was three years ago, and he was using an entirely different sled. As well, he and Riddle started higher up the track this time, so for all intents and purposes, Park City was an unknown entity.

Watts observed there are elements of two far more familiar tracks in Utah he was able to use to his advantage.

"It's a pretty fast track like Whistler, but you have to let your sled do a lot of running like in Calgary," he said. "It's pretty cool to see them both come in."

In the season-opening doubleheader race in Whistler earlier this month, Watts and Riddle posted a gold medal time in the second doubles race, but were disqualified for carrying slightly too much weight. Riddle said staying within the bounds was a major focus this time.

"We also worked really hard on keeping our weight controlled because that was a problem last time," he said.

The women weren't quite able to replicate the men's results.

In the junior women's event, Mount Currie's Jenna Spencer was eighth with a showing of 1:30.516. That was 1.538 seconds behind the winning time of Germany's Jessica Tiebel. Spencer is tied for eighth in the overall standings with Austria's Nina Prock and Russia's Lilia Burmistrova (114 points). Tiebel leads with 285 points.

Lastly, Whistler's Nicole Pidperyhora, sitting in fifth place after her first run, was disqualified after her second. She competed in the youth A women's category.

She is eighth in the overall standings with 115 points. That is 170 points back of leader Yulia Naumova of Russia.


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