Hyrns/Sherk, Britcher and Morris Win Norton Junior National Titles
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On Saturday, March 12, Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk became repeat winners in the doubles competition of the Norton Junior National Championships, adding the 2011 title to their 2010 honors. Summer Britcher and Taylor Morris, both first-time title winners, won in the women and men’s divisions, respectively. Junior events are for athletes under the age of 20 and represent the last step before elite level racing.
Early morning snow was forecast to change to rain at the Olympic Sports Complex, but never made the transition, as athletes raced under a constant snow flurry with temperatures in the upper 20’s.
Hyrns of Marquette, Mich. and Sherk of Ft. Washington, Pa. took their second Junior National title with a two-run combined time of one minute, 27.346 seconds. The duo, who took silver at the Norton National Championships held on March 5, cemented their performance as our nation’s best junior doubles team.
Earlier in the season, Hyrns and Sherk captured the overall international junior world cup title.
“We had two solid runs, so we couldn’t be happier,” added Sherk. “It was a good day and a great way to end the racing season.” said Sherk, who will head to Whistler, Canada tomorrow to join a group of sliders from around the world to help evaluate potential new starting points for the 2010 Olympic luge course.
A pair of Utah athletes took the silver medal. Ty Anderson of Alpine and Pat Edmunds of Park City stopped the clock at 1:28.461. A rare all-female team, Kate Hansen of La Canada, Calif. and Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Conn., were third in 1:30.258.
Prior to getting on the doubles sled, Sweeney, age 18 and Hansen, age 19, faced each other in the women’s race, but it was 17 year-old Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa. who surprised to take the gold.
“It feels good,” said Britcher, the 2010-11 overall youth A (to age 17) World Cup champion. “I knew it was going to be close between the three of us, Emily, Kate, and I, but I wasn’t expecting to win.”
And close it was. Britcher’s winning time was 1:29.051 to Sweeney’s 1:29.088, a margin of only .037 seconds. Hansen’s time was 1:30.195.
Taylor Morris of South Jordan, Utah, bronze medalist at the Norton National Championship held a week previously, easily won the men’s competition, with a total time of 1:42.116. Second place went to 2011 Empire State Games gold medal winner Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn. with a time of 1:43.137. Isaac Underwood of Skandia, Mich. was third in 1:43.183.
“I knew I had to do the best that I possibly could in my last year as a junior,” said the 19-year-old Morris. “I wanted to finish it (my junior career) out the best that I could. I wanted a national title and I got it.”
Racing resumed the following day, with identical podiums in the men’s and women’s races during the Norton Junior National Seeding Race. In the overall points total, Tucker West earned 200 points, Aaron Barge earned 160 and Ty Anderson earned 130. Taylor Morris and Isaac Underwood both will move on to the senior ranks next season, thus becoming ineligible to earn points.
In the women’s points total, Summer Britcher earned 200, Emily Sweeney 160 and Kate Hansen 130.
Tucker West and Summer Britcher have both earned spots on next year’s Junior National squad as a result of winning the most points.
With Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk traveling to Whistler for track testing, no doubles competition was held during the Norton Junior National Seeding Race.
Article from March 16 2011 USA Luge Team Newsletter