D espite a strong showing in qualifying events, Whitehall’s Codie Bascue was not chosen as a member of the national bobsled team when selections were made by the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation last Thursday.
Bascue finished third in both the two- and four-man qualifying races, falling just short of claiming a spot on the national World Cup team as a pilot. He did, however, earn the number one spot on for the North American Cup race series that begins on Sunday in Park City, Utah.
Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., and Cory Butner of Yucaipa, Calif., were chosen to lead the helm of USA II and USA III, respectively.
Cunningham piloted the winning sled in both qualifying races while Butner finished second in both.
Steven Holcomb of Park City, Utah, received an automatic bid to the team based on his performance last season.
After teaming with Nic Taylor of Hayward, Calif., to finish third in the two-man event on Oct. 20, Bascue, along with Taylor, Jesse Beckhorn of Chicago, Ill., and Sam Michener of Greshman, Ore., posted a combined time of 1:52.17 in the four-man event on Oct. 25.
Ryan Sweeney, a Hampton resident and fellow Whitehall graduate, is facing an uphill battle in his quest to make the national skeleton team.
A 13th-place finish in the second of four qualifying races leaves Sweeney needing a very strong performance in the final two races this week.
Last Wednesday, Sweeney posted a cumulative time of 1:52.72, more than four seconds behind winner John Daly of Smithtown.
The results come a day after Sweeney surprised the field by posting a combined time of 1:53.64 in the first qualifying race, good for third place.
In only his third season of sliding, Sweeney had a blistering first run, posting a time of 56.32, the third-fastest run of the day. Only Daly, who won the race, had faster times.
There are two open spots on the World Cup roster. Matt Antoine of Prairie du Chien, Wisc., has already earned a spot on the team based on his performance last season.
The two remaining spots will go to the sliders who post the best combined times over the course of four races.
“The door is wide open for a lot of these athletes,” said head skeleton coach Tuff Latour after the first qualifying race. “We have 36 athletes out here vying for a spot, and it’s one of the most competitive fields we’ve had.”
The third selection race was expected to be held yesterday in Park City, Utah. Results weren’t available before the paper went to press. The final race will be held today in Park City and the team will be chosen following the race.