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Sitka Supports the USA Luge Team | PR: Team USA places fifth in Oberhof relay

Sitka Creations is a sponsor of the USA Luge team.

Date: February 11, 2024
Contact: Lauren Howe, Phone 978-400-3036,   

Team USA places fifth in Oberhof relay 

West tenth in men’s singles   

OBERHOF, Germany— The United States relay squad of Emily Sweeney, Zack DiGregorio/Sean Hollander, Tucker West, and Maya Chan/Reanynn Weiler, placed fifth in the team relay event at the Eberspächer Luge World Cup. In the men’s singles race, West placed tenth. This was the sixth of nine World Cup events in the 2023-24 season.  

Rain, mist, and warm temperatures have plagued races all season, bringing rapidly changing ice conditions. Today was no exception. With such weather becoming the norm, athletes have started to introduce techniques to take advantage of the best possible ice during two heat competitions, as was the case in today’s men’s competition.  

Team relay 

Sweeney (Lake Placid, N.Y.) was first out of the gate for the U.S. and laid down a consistent run, setting the stage for DiGregorio (Medway, Mass.)/Hollander (Lake Placid, N.Y.). West (Ridgefield, Conn.) was next, with the fastest reaction time in the men’s discipline, followed by Chan (Chicago, Ill.)/Weiler (Whitesboro, N.Y.). The team placed fifth with a time of three-minutes 13.996 seconds.  

It was a fight to the finish between Latvia and Germany, and it all came down to the final sled to determine the gold.  

Team Germany was led by relay newcomers Merle Fraebel and Hannes Orlamuender/Paul Gubitz, following a medal performance in their respective disciplines yesterday, and Max Langenhan, and Jessica Degenhardt/Cheyenne Rosenthal. Germany was behind Latvia until Degenhardt/Rosenthal found speed and clenched the gold medal at the finish line, with a time of 3:12.942. 

Kendija Aparjode, Martins Bots/Roberts Plume, Kristers Aparjods, and Anda Upite/Kitija Bogdanova took the silver for Latvia in 3:13.092. Team Austria, led by Madeleine Egle, Thomas Steu/Wolfgang Kindl, David Gleirscher, and Selina Egle/Lara Kipp, placed third with a time of 3:13.230. 

Team Germany continues to lead the World Cup overall standings with 440 points. Team Austria is in second with 400, and Team USA remains in third with 340.   

Men’s Singles 

Once again, it was a wild and rainy race with inconsistent ice conditions for the world’s top athletes. Traditionally, top seeded athletes start at the end of the order. The second heat is run in reverse order of finish. Warm conditions have become so common, some top-ranked racers have started to use various first-heat strategies to slow their speed. These tactics, including dragging feet in curves and straight sections, are deployed in the first heat, with the goal of getting an early start number for the second heat.  

Latvia’s Aparjods, who started near the top of the list on the second run after placing 17th, won the gold medal with a time of 1:27.263. Langenhan of Germany won the silver medal with a time of 1:27.305. Both he and Austria’s David Gleirscher were the gambling men in the competition. They scrubbed speed by dropping their feet in the straightaway and in the middle of the final curve on their first run. Gleirscher was in 23rd place, and posted the fastest run of the second heat, taking the bronze in 1:27.381. 

The U.S. team had a mixed bag of consistent runs, fast starts and a few small mistakes. Three-time Olympian West had the fastest start in the second heat and placed tenth with a time of 1:27.704. 2022 Olympian Johnny Gustafson (Messina, N.Y.) slid in just behind West, placing 11th in 1:27.736. Hunter Harris (East Fairfield, Vt.) finished in 21st with a time of 1:28.119. 

Langenhan remains the World Cup points leader with 655. Austria’s Jonas Mueller is in second with 479, and Aparjods is third with 470. Gustafson remains in ninth with 276, West in tenth with 272, and Harris in 18th with 130.  

For more results on the 2023-2024 World Cup season, visit 

World Cup action continues in Oberhof, Germany, on February 17-18. To live stream the races and to view archived competitions, please visit the FIL’s YouTube channel: The entire World Cup and World Championship season can be accessed from this portal.  

For more information on the Fastest Sport on Ice®, log on to     


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