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Oct 26, 2009
USA Names 2009-2010 World Cup Teams

PARK CITY, Utah- The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) announced its 2009-2010 World Cup team on October 25.  Athletes competed in a series of four races over a two-week period, competing in Lake Placid, N.Y. and Park City, Utah to earn their position on the team.

“This is inarguably the best team we’ve ever fielded in an Olympic season,” said USBSF CEO Darrin Steele.  “This was an extremely competitive series of races.  The Selection Committee had to make some difficult choices because the team is so deep with talent, and there were a lot of good athletes that weren’t named to a team.  But this is not the Olympic team, so there is still the opportunity for other athletes to be named.”

The USA Olympic team will be named on January 23rd following the conclusion of the World Cup tour.

Women’s Skeleton
Two-time World Cup champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) was granted a medical waiver onto the women’s skeleton team and was forced to miss the selection races while following a rehabilitation program.  Uhlaender shattered her kneecap in a snowmobile accident last April and underwent three reparative surgeries, but is on the mend and is expected to be in peak form by February. 

Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) swept the selection races in dominant style, winning all four competitions to earn her spot on the team with the maximum number of points.  Pikus-Pace’s sliding resume includes 2005 World Cup champion and 2007 World Champion, and she is expected to be a U.S. favorite going into February.

Rebecca Sorensen (Fort Collins, Colo.) will make her World Cup debut this season after finishing second in trials points, edging Courtney Yamada-Anderson for the final team position in speed points. Since beginning the sport of skeleton, Sorensen has been an athlete to watch internationally, and will likely be a threat on the World Cup stage.

Men’s Skeleton
Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) was the first men’s skeleton athlete to be named to the team after receiving a medical waiver following the first competition in Lake Placid.  Bernotas suffered a leg injury during training, but was still able to dominate the first competition to prove he’ll be a force to be reckoned with on tour.

Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) secured his position on the team after finishing with the highest number of points in the selection races.  Lund missed both the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, but returned in the 2006-2007 season to claim the World Cup title and is a force to be reckoned with on the podium.

The USBSF also welcomes John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) to the World Cup team.  Daly finished the 2008-2009 season ranked second on the European Cup tour, and is known internationally as one of the fastest athletes at the start.  Daly will undoubtedly be a force to reckon with as he makes his World Cup debut.   

The men’s and women’s bobsled pilots were named to the team based solely on selection race results.  The Selection Committee met at the conclusion of the final competition to nominate the push athletes.  The Selection Committee consists of USBSF CEO Darrin Steele, USBSF High Performance Director Scott Novack, head coaches Sepp Plozza and Brian Shimer, and two athlete representatives Jean Racine-Prahm and Lorenzo Smith.

Driver input, race results, proven international experience and team cohesion were just a few of the factors taken into consideration when determining the push athlete selections.

Women’s Bobsled

The U.S. women’s bobsled team boasts a roster of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup medalists.  The three women’s bobsled pilots that earned a position on the World Cup team are Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah), Erin Pac (Farmongton, Conn.) and Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.).
Rohbock earned a bye onto the team because of her 2008-2009 season’s results, which included a World Championship silver medal and gold on the 2010 Olympic course in Whistler, British Columbia.

Pac earned her spot on the team as the best pilot in the selection races, and has already proven herself on the Whistler course after claiming bronze in the World Cup event last season.  Schaaf, a skeleton athlete turned bobsled pilot, had a breakthrough season last year and finished sixth in Whistler.  

The following push athletes were selected to the women’s bobsled team, and are listed in alphabetical order according to last name:
Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.)
Valerie Fleming (Park City, Utah)
Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.)
Ingrid Marcum (Elmhurst, Ill.)
Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.)
Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.)
Men’s Bobsled

Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) and John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) were named as the pilots for the men’s bobsled World Cup team. Holcomb earned a bye onto the team after winning the four-man bobsled World Championship crown and the two-man bobsled World Championship bronze medal.

Hays came out of retirement a year ago to make his bid for another Olympic team, and his quest for gold grew closer to a reality after earning his position onto the World Cup roster.   Napier, 22, made his stamp on the international scene last season, and is a promising young athlete for the U.S. team. 
The men’s bobsled push athletes are listed below in alphabetical order based on last name:

Chuck Berkeley (Clayton, Calif.)
TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.)
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.)
Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah)
Brock Kreitzburg (Akron, Ohio)
Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.)
Steve Mesler (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Jamie Moriarty (Winnetka, Ill.)
Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas)
Bill Schuffenhauer (Ogden, Utah)
Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.)
Laszlo Vandrascek (Phoenix, Ariz.)

The teams will depart will train for the next two weeks on the 2010 Winter Olympic track in Whistler, British Columbia.  The first Intersport FIBT World Cup event will take place in Park City, Utah from November 9-14.