Wesenberg, Antoine win skeleton selection race
November 6, 2015
The U.S coaching staff took notice of Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, California) when she was the surprise winner of the third national team selection race in Park City last season. The fourth-year slider didn’t disappoint, winning the third selection race on the 2002 Olympic track again this season to make a strong bid for a national team spot. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin) is racing despite having a bye onto the team, and the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist claimed his third consecutive win in as many races Thursday night.
Athletes are racing for one of two spots per gender on the World Cup team and one of three spots on the Intercontinental Cup team. Results from four selection races, two each in Lake Placid, New York, and Park City, will be combined to determine the national team.
Wesenberg burst onto the skeleton scene last season as the first U.S. woman to win a European Cup race in 10 years after sliding to victory her first international race in Lillehammer, Norway. She went on to become the first American woman to ever win the overall European Cup and the first American in 10 years to take the title.
Wesenberg was only ninth-fastest at the start, but she picked up speed down the course for the fastest run of the first heat, 50.78 seconds, to distance herself from the competition. She was fourth-fastest in the second heat with a run of 51.45 seconds, but Wesenberg managed to hold off the competition by 0.34 seconds with a total time of 1:42.23.
"I had pretty high expectations for myself coming back to Park City this year, so I’m glad I was able to put it together enough to hold onto first today," Wesenberg said. "My first run was awesome, that was the best I’ve put it together all week. My second one left a little to be desired for sure, I was just off a couple of places, which is definitely not what I wanted to do."
Wesenberg, a former soccer player who began sliding four years ago as a member of Park City’s development program, finished third and fifth in last week’s Lake Placid races. After today’s win, she’s positioned herself in national team contention.
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"Consistency is something I’ve struggled with through all of team trials, so I will try to put two good runs together [on Nov. 6] and see where it puts me," Wesenberg said.
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