WINTERBERG, Germany (Dec. 6, 2015)- Two-time Olympian Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and his push crew of Casey Wickline (Greenville, S.C.), James Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) finished 13th to lead Team USA in today's four-person bobsled World Cup race in Winterberg. Three-time Olympic medalist Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) continues to treat an injury sustained last week. Holcomb teamed with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) for 18th.
"It's tough to stay positive when you're not winning, but we're keeping our heads high and we are being patient while we're still rebuilding," Cunningham said. "Our second-year guys are definitely stepping up and helping the first-year rookies learn the ropes, and we have a really strong team right now. Pretty soon it's all going to start to click."
Cunningham, Wickline, Reed and Michener put themselves in top-10 contention with a start of 5.16 and a run of 55.89 seconds for 13th position after the first heat. The crew clocked a second push time of 5.17 and Cunningham bettered his first run by 0.29 seconds with a second heat time of 55.60. The team maintained 13th place with a combined time of 1:51.49.
"Considering we've had under 15 race pushes together as a crew, it's not bad," Cunningham said. "We're still in that phase of getting comfortable together, so to be within the top 10 pushes on a European track is a really good stepping stone."
While continuing to nurse a quadriceps injury sustained in last weekend's four-person race, Holcomb took just a few steps before loading early into the sled today. His push crew of Valdes, Adams and McGuffie excelled the sled as quickly as possible for a start time of 5.25 in the first run, and Holcomb piloted the Night Train 2 to the finish in 56.11 seconds for 17th position.
The crew clocked a start of 5.31 in the second run, and it was discovered after the crew pushed off that the handles to help move the sled had not been removed. Despite the mistake, Holcomb piloted the sled to a faster second heat of 55.77 seconds. The team's combined time of 1:51.88 placed them in 18th.
Team Germany swept the medals in a race that came down to the hundredths. Francesco Friedrich remains undefeated this season after winning again today with his team of Jannis Baecker, Martin Putze and Thorsten Margis. The crew crossed the finish line in 1:50.58 for the victory. Maximilian Arndt, Alexander Roediger, Kevin Kuske and Ben Heber were second in 1:50.63, while Nico Walther, Marko Huebenbecker, Christian Poser and Philipp Wobeto completed the sweep in third with a total time of 1:50.74.
The final heat of the four-person bobsled race from Winterberg will air on Universal HD at 6:30 p.m. EST. The World Cup tour continues in Germany next week with racing in Koenigssee prior to the holiday break. The second half of the season will kick off on home ice in Lake Placid, N.Y.
"Knowing that we get to go home after next week's races and then start the second half on our home tracks is huge," Cunningham said. "Breaking up the season and not having to spend months in Europe is really going to help the team morale. We're all looking forward to what's still to come."
Visit www.usabs.com for updates and results from the various tours. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250. Get updates on the team by following USA Bobsled & Skeleton on Facebook, USBSF on Twitter and USABS on Instagram.
1. Friedrich, Putze, Baecker, Margis (GER) 1:50.58 (55.35, 55.23);
2. Arndt, Kuske, Roediger, Heber (GER) 1:50.63 (55.28, 55.35);
3. Walther, Huebenbecker, Poser, Wobeto (GER) 1:50.74 (55.36, 55.38);
13. Cunningham, Wickline, Michener, Reed (USA) 1:51.49 (55.89, 55.60);
18. Holcomb, Adams, Valdes, McGuffie (USA) 1:51.88 (56.11, 55.77);