C odie Bascue is exceeding his own expectations.
Bascue, a 2012 graduate of Whitehall High School, continued what has been a brilliant season, claiming five medals, including one gold, in six North American Cup bobsled races held earlier this month in Calgary, Alberta.
With that recent performance, Bascue has now collected 13 medals in 14 North American Cup races and is beginning to establish himself as a legitimate threat to compete on the World Cup circuit, perhaps as early as 2014.
He is the overall North American Cup series leader and is the 13th ranked pilot in the world.
“To have 14 races between the end of October and Christmas and to do so well in all of them is something I thought was unthinkable,” Bascue said.
In a sport where athletes don’t reach their peak until their mid to late 20’s, Bascue’s rise has been as fast as one of the sleds he pilots.
Bascue began bobsledding at the age of 8 and was competing against adults by the time he was 15.
Last season, he notched four first place finishes in Youth Olympic Games qualifying races in Park City, Utah and Calgary and in January, spent two and a half weeks in Austria competing in the Youth Olympics and Junior World Championships, finishing seventh and 13th respectively. He ended the season as the fifth-ranked bobsledder of any age in the country and the number one driver under the age of 21. He was ranked 10th in the world among all pilots under the age of 26.
And judging on the results this year, he’ll be even on higher on those lists at the end of this season.
Bascue began the season by narrowly missing out on a spot on the national team, finishing behind pilots Nick Cunningham and Cory Butner (Steven Holcomb received an automatic bid based on his performance on the World Cup circuit).
The performance was a full spot better than his results at the team trials last season and makes Bascue the national team’s first alternate should anyone get injured or falter.
“I went into the trials hopeful but not expecting to make the team,” said Bascue.
Since then, he’s done nothing but dominant.
In the opening round of the North American Cup, an international bobsled and skeleton series held entirely within North America, Bascue swept the two and four-man bobsled races on his way to four gold medals.
A few weeks later, he won three gold medals and a silver.
This month, Bascue and his brakeman, Sam Michener, defeated World Cup pilot Jan Vrba of the Czech Republic by .34 seconds, an eternity in bobsledding, to claim gold in the two-man.
And he’s done all that with an alternating cast of teammates that change from one race to the next.
Bascue says the biggest difference this year has been the opportunity to concentrate solely on bobsledding.
“I think the key has been keeping my mind right. I’m not worrying about stuff at home; I’m just focusing on my driving. I go out there and concentrate on nothing but bobsledding.”
“I never thought I would progress this fast.”
If he continues to improve, Bascue has a legitimate shot at competing on the World Cup circuit and possibly the 2018 Olympics.
“We’re creeping up on U.S. 3. It should be a good competition the next two years.”
“I’m thinking about the World Cup in 2014. I’m hopeful but not expecting it. It’s a possibility if I concentrate and work hard.”
Bascue has already exceed his expectations once. No one should be surprised if he does it a second time.