Junior Luge World Cup at UOP
December 12, 2014
They may have been too young for the recent Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but the athletes competing at the Junior Luge World Cup at the Utah Olympic Park this weekend and into next week might just be on the Olympic scene in Korea in 2018.
Seventy-four athletes — 28 women, 26 men and 10 doubles teams — will take to the track at the UOP for a series of competitions. Featured among those athletes are competitors from 11 different countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and the United States.
Several local athletes will take the ice as well. Eight sliders live in the area or compete for local teams. Racing in the Junior Men category is Jake Farquharson. Sami Carone and Mackenzie Rice will compete in the Junior Women category. Caitlin Bubel, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson will slide in the Youth A Women category and Duncan Biles and Alanson Owen make up a Youth A Doubles team.
Lindsey Wolff, marketing manager of the Utah Olympic Park, said it’s always nice to have that much diversity on hand for a big event.
"We have 11 different countries that are here right now," she said. "That’s great for a junior turnout. Being a World Cup, it does a great job bringing other countries to the Park. It makes for a fun feel and it’s fun to come out and watch."
After a training day on Saturday, the sliders will compete in a Junior Grid race and a Youth A Grid race on Sunday. Monday will feature a Junior Doubles competition alongside Youth A Men, Youth A Women and Youth A doubles contests.
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Tuesday will see the Junior Men category take the ice in the morning, followed by Junior Women and a team competition.
Jon Owen of USA Luge said this will be a valuable learning experience for the young local kids on the teams.
"It’s nice that we have a whole lot of local kids in this World Cup," he said. "It’s exciting for a lot of them because it’s their first Junior World Cup. Having it at home, that comfort level will be nice. Hopefully they’ll do well since they’re in a comfortable environment."
As with many teams in a post-Olympic year, Owen said a lot of the U.S. racers are inexperienced and young. Many of the top juniors have moved up to the senior-level team to focus on the 2018 Olympics.
"It’s a fairly young team," he said. "A lot of ours have moved up. We had Tucker West [of Ridgefield, Connecticut], who’s still a junior, but he just won the senior World Cup in Lake Placid."
Team-wise, Owen noted Germany and Russia as other teams casual fans should be sure to catch.
"As far as who to watch, there’s always the Germans," he said. "That goes without saying. [Russia] still has a lot of money in their programs after Sochi, so I would expect to see some good things from them, too. After that, I’m not sure who’s doing what and who’s doing well."
This weekend’s junior luge competitions at the Olympic Park are free to spectators. Visit http://www.utaholympiclegacy.com for more information about the Park. For more on USA Luge, visit http://www.usaluge.org .
Junior Luge World Cup Schedule
Sunday, Dec. 14:
9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. — Junior Grid Race
12-1:30 p.m. — Youth A Grid Race
Monday, Dec. 15:
10 a.m. — Junior Doubles first run
10:20 a.m. — Youth A Men first run
12:40 p.m. — Youth A Women first run
1:05 p.m. — Youth A Doubles first run
Tuesday, Dec. 16:
9 a.m. — Junior Men first run
9 a.m. — Junior Women first run
10:40 a.m. — Junior Men second run
11:25 a.m. — Junior Women second run
1 p.m. — Team Competition
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