PARK CITY, Utah (Nov. 16, 2012)- The U.S. women’s bobsled team put together another solid day of results in the second World Cup competition of the season today. Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) were on the cusp of medaling in fourth place, while Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) finished close behind in fifth. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) obliterated the Park City start record by a tenth of a second in the first heat and finished eighth. This is only the third season driving for the women’s pilots, and they are on a steep learning curve towards the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
“It’s definitely a learning process every day,” Greubel said. “Katie and I, this is our first race together. We’ve maybe slid together three times before, so it was really great to be able to race together this week. We gelled together pretty quickly. I was struggling with some of the curves up top all week, and I’m happy I was able to pull it together today.”
Greubel and Eberling, who began the sport just last year, pushed identical start times of 5.25 seconds in the two-heat contest.
“It’s my second year doing it and I just need to keep reminding myself that I’m still learning and I’ve stepped into that veteran role pretty quickly,” Eberling. “I’m just trying to take it one year at a time.”
Greubel piloted the Sliding for Hope sled into fifth position after the first run, but moved the team into fourth after posting the third fastest time of the final heat. Greubel and Eberling led the women’s team with a combined time of 1:39.88.
Fenlator and Azevedo trailed their teammates by 0.11 seconds for fifth place. Fenlator set the bar high for Team USA by earning a silver medal in the World Cup opener last weekend. This week she clocked a total time of 1:39.99 in the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Foundation sled to finish just outside the medals.
“I still look around in the start house and see multi-time medalists and Olympians,” Fenlator said. “Especially coming off a great race last week, I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ To be among that caliber of athlete is really inspiring and motivating. Every day we just try to learn, to watch, and I really push myself to be up there with them.”
Azevedo is in her seventh season and is the veteran of the women’s squad. She helped push Fenlator to respectable push times of 5.25 and 5.29 seconds today.
“I was happy with my first run and it’s always great sliding with Jazmine,” Azevedo said. “We’re still getting used to a new team. We did great today and we’re just excited looking forward. I’m hoping moving towards Sochi we’ll continue to progress.”
Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valios were victorious with a combined time of 1:39.49. Sandra Kiriasis and Franziska Bertels from Germany trailed the Canadians by 0.28 seconds to finish second, while teammates Cathleen Martini and Stephanie Schneider finished third with a two-run total of 1:39.81.
Meyers and Evans clocked a blistering start time of 5.10 seconds to destroy the record and were in bronze medal position after the first heat. Evans broke the Lake Placid, N.Y. track record on only her third day on ice during team selection races with Greubel, and now owns the Park City record with Meyers after just five days on tour.
“It’s very exciting,” Evans said. “I’ll just keep giving that start my all, and hope for the best.”
Meyers and Evans were en route to a medal, but a few errors in the third timing interval cost the pair valuable time. The KOA sled crossed the finish in 1:40.14 for eighth position.
“I always want to improve, and today my driving wasn’t there,” Meyers said. “I’m very disappointed. To come to an American track and have a run like that, it’s really disappointing. I’m going to try and regroup and hopefully get after it next week.”
The Park City World Cup event will continue tomorrow with the men’s skeleton race at 9 a.m. and will conclude with the men’s four-man competition at 1 p.m.
1. Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valios (CAN) 1:39.49 (49.61, 49.88); 2. Sandra Kiriasis and Franziska Bertels (GER) 1:39.77 (49.70, 50.07); 3. Cathleen Martini and Stephanie Schneider (GER) 1:39.81 (49.83, 49.98); 4. Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling (USA) 1:39.88 (49.83, 50.05); 5. Jazmine Fenlator and Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:39.99 (49.86, 50.13);…8. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans (USA) 1:40.14 (49.74, 50.40);