LAKE PLACID - On a clear, cold Adirondack morning with slowly rising temperatures, Theresa Buckley of Allentown Pa. added her third Norton Youth A National Championship title in as many years.
The luge competition format featured two runs on Saturday, March 30 and two runs on March 31. The National Championships were determined by adding those four runs together.
Buckley won comfortably, clocking a combined time of 2 minutes, 58.892 seconds over Katy Simi, who earned the silver medal thanks, in part, to a very fast final heat. Simi, a Park City, Utah resident and daughter of three-time luge Olympian Bonnie Warner-Simi, clocked a time of 3:00.036. Nikol Yonemura of Salt Lake City earned the bronze medal, despite being one of the smaller athletes in the field of competitors born between 1995 and 1998. Yonemura's time was 3:00.227.
In the men's Youth A division, Riley Stohr, a native of Ludington, Mich. who resides in Whitehall, Mich., took the gold medal for the first time, after placing third at the 2011 and 2012 Youth National Championship events. The reigning Youth A overall World Cup silver medal winner finished in 2:59.707, ahead of Justin Krewson's silver medal winning time of 3:00.202. Krewson is a doubles specialist who, with teammate Tristan Jeskanen of Peru finished third in this season's overall youth doubles World Cup. Jonny Gustafson of Massena was third in 3:01.133.
The Youth B category, featuring athletes born in 1999 or later, saw Sophie Kirkby take her first Norton title. The Ray Brook native clocked a 3:10.525, enough to edge out Emeline Cave, of Philpot, Ky., who raced to a time of 3:10.944. Selena Jeskanen of Peru took third in 3:16.706. Selena is the younger sister of Tristan Jeskanen.
Another first-time winner was Justin Taylor of Newark, Del., who used four dominant runs to win the Youth B men's race in 3:05.045. A pair of Lake Placid natives took the two remaining podium spots, with Sean Hollander in second with 3:06.673 and Duncan Seeger in third with 3:08.449.
The two days of competition were also treated as stand-alone seeding races, used to help determine the make up of next year's junior teams.
On March 30, Buckley held off second-place finisher Yonemura and bronze medalist Simi. The March 31 Youth A women's competition saw Buckley in front again, but Simi and Yonemura reversed spots. Stohr won the first race, with Krewson in second, but the finish order flipped on the second day. Gustafson was third both days. Kirkby, Cave and Jeskanen made up the top three on Saturday, with Ashley Farquharson of Park City, Utah winning Sunday's event. Kirkby was second and Cave third in Norton seeding race No. 2.
The Norton Youth National Championships mark the end of the 2012-13 luge season. Team announcements for the fall of 2013 will be made later this spring.