PARK CITY, UTAH (Jan. 16, 2016)- Three-time Olympic medalist Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and his crew of Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) narrowly missed a top-six finish by a mere 0.02 seconds after finishing seventh in today's four-person bobsled World Cup race. The Park City World Cup stop featured two four-person bobsled competitions, and Holcomb was hindered by adverse weather in yesterday's race, resulting in a 16th place finish. The veteran was disappointed overall with the two days of racing, but was pleased to show what the team was capable of today.
"We weren't the only team that had problems with the conditions tonight," Holcomb said. "If you look at our start times today versus where we were last night, you can see that tonight we were closer to where we should be. We tried to do the best we could and I felt like we redeemed ourselves a bit. We came in here with some momentum and knowing this is our home track, it's a bit of a disappointment. For my guys, our push times tonight proved to them that they can do it."
Holcomb, Valdes, Del Duca and McGuffie were in ninth place after run one with a push of 4.91 seconds and run of 48.36. Determined to cap the weekend on a high note, the crew powered the Night Train 2 off the block in 4.84 and posted the fourth fastest time of the heat, 48.28, to jump two spots. Team Holcomb tied the Latvian team of Ugis Zalims, Intars Dambis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis for seventh place with a total time of 1:36.64.
Germany's Nico Walther, Marko Huebenbecker, Christian Poser and Eric Franke were victorious despite posting only the fifth fastest start of the second heat. The German team clocked a combined time of 1:36.38 to finish 0.02 seconds ahead of their German teammates. Maximilian Arndt, Martin Putze, Ben Heber and Kevin Korona claimed silver in 1:36.40. Swiss competitors Rico Peter, Fabio Badraun, Thomas Amrhein and Janne Bror van der Zijde rounded out the podium in third with a cumulative time of 1:36.46.
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and his crew of Casey Wickline(Greenville, S.C.), James Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Sam Michener(Gresham, Ore.) finished 13th today with a combined time of 1:37.18. The crew was unlucky in the first run when wind blew snow into the grooves resulting in a push time of 5.04 and a downtime of 48.63. The crew had better luck in the final heat and bettered their start to 4.91 and a run of 48.55.
"In the first run, we were battling the conditions," Cunningham said. "We considered filing a protest on the start, because we felt like we were sitting there for quite a while without anything really happening. The second run was about making a statement and showing everyone that we are a better crew than the results have shown."
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) teamed with David Cremin (Annondale, Va.), Nathan Gilsleider (Claremore, Okla.) and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (Powhatan, Va.) for 19th place after clocking an aggregate time of 1:37.56. The crew posted consistent starts of 4.96 and 4.95 seconds for runs of 48.63 and 48.93, respectively.
"We had some things to fix after yesterday, not only in the push but in my driving as well," Bascue said. "I feel like we came out and made some improvements today and we made the most of the situation we had."
The four-person race concludes racing in Park City and moves onto its sixth stop in Whistler, Canada.
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1. Walther, Huebenbecker, Poser and Franke (GER) 1:36.38 (48.08, 48.30);
2. Arndtm Putze, Heber and Korona (GER) 1:36.40 (48.10, 48.30);
3. Peter, Badraun, Amrhein, van der Zijde (SUI) 1:36.46 (48.23, 48.23);
7. Holcomb, Valdes, Del Duca and McGuffie (USA) 1:36.64 (48.36, 48.28);
13. Cunningham, Wickline, Michener and Reed (USA) 1:37.18 (48.63, 48.55);
19. Bascue, Cremin, Gilsleider and Adbul-Saboor (USA) 1:37.56 (48.63, 48.93);