Sweeney heading to Europe

B y Derek Liebig

The second half of Ryan Sweeney’s season is off to a much better start than the first half.

Sweeney, a member of the United States Skeleton Developmental team, was recently selected to compete in the Europa Cup and embarked Sunday on a two-week sojourn that will take him to the “birthplace of sliding sports.”

“I was beyond ecstatic. I felt like a little kid who got the one thing they really wanted for Christmas. I tried to keep my composure, but inside I was jumping around,” Sweeney said.

The opportunity to compete on the Europa Cup came as a bit of surprise for Sweeney, who described the beginning of the sliding season as a “struggle.”

“I had bought a new sled and made the decision to slide on it for the first time during this year’s team trials. Every run I had down the track—good or bad—was slow and I honestly did not know if was equipment or driver issues,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney finished near the bottom of the team trial races in Lake Placid and was looking forward to a change of venue. But when the team trials shifted to Park City, Utah, Sweeney’s disillusionment grew when his times continued to lag behind.

“I knew the new sled would handle different, but even with good runs I wasn’t going fast. I talked to my coaches and neither they nor I knew what was going on, or what to do,” Sweeney said.

With several disappointing finishes in U.S. team trials, Sweeney was left off the men’s national team.

Disappointed, but not defeated, Sweeney returned to Lake Placid intent on improving his times. He took a handful of runs on his new sled and his times continued to lag behind. Hoping to determine if it was himself of his sled contributing to the down times, Sweeney also took several runs on his old sled. He took two runs down the track and despite a handful of technical mistakes, his times were nearly a second faster, an eternity in a sport decided by hundredths and thousandths of a second.

“It was a huge relief to know it wasn’t me, but the sled,” Sweeney said, adding that he still doesn’t know why his new sled was so slow.

Returning to the sled he has used for three years, Sweeney continued to clock faster times, even posting his fastest time ever at the Mount Van Hoevenberg track and besting the ties set by some athletes that made the national team.

“I regret not sliding on the old sled during team trials, but we learn from our mistakes,” Sweeney wrote.

His improvement, however, was not enough to earn him a spot in the final two North American Cup races this month in Lake Placid and he began planning the next nine months of work and training.

“I had it all figured out. I let my bosses and coaches know my plans, and then the next day it all changed,” Sweeney wrote.

Last month, Sweeney received an email from his coaches offering him the opportunity to compete in the Europa Cup, which he described as the “third tier of tours,” after World Cup and Intercontinental Cup and just ahead of the North America Cup. Although he had a number of logisitics to work out, Sweeney jumped at the opportunity.

“Racing on the Europa Cup allows me to race internationally, to earn points in a world ranking scale and also a U.S. Ranking, and if I do well enough and earn enough points I can guarantee myself a spot un next year’s team trails. More importantly this tour allows me to slide and race on two new tracks, which gives me more experience to be more competitive on these other tracks throughout the world.”

Sweeney left for Europe on Sunday—after spending several hours delayed at Washington-Dulles airport—and in the next few weeks will race in Konigssee, Germany, and St. Moritz, Switzeland. The tracks are two of the oldest in Europe and Sweeney said the track in St. Mortiz is the only all natural track in the world and is considered the “birthplace of sliding sports.”

Sweeney, who hopes to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Olympic team, is taking this year in stride.

“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity,” Sweeney wrote on his blog, “Pushing the edge, face-first.” “I can honestly say that this season started out very bumpy, but as one of my coaches recently posted, ‘Things turn out best, for those who make the best of the way things turn out.’”

 

 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: ,

Classifieds 01/28/14

Whitehall Marina, RV Park sold to new owners

DSC_0550

By Dan King The Whitehall Marina, restaurant and RV park have new owners. Bill Brina, owner of Dagon Enterprises, said […]

Culligan still wants to coach

Justin Culligan

By Dan King Despite being terminated as the varsity football coach, Justin Culligan still wants to coach in Whitehall. Culligan […]

Whitehall Winterfest on ice

Winterfest III

By Dan King One of Whitehall’s favorite annual events will be on hiatus this year – the Whitehall Winterfest, which […]

Community Heroin discussion at SUNY ADK

Residents of Warren and Washington Counties are invited to learn how heroin affects everyone in the community and discuss ways […]

Petitions available to run for village office

Potential candidates interested in running for public office have until Feb. 10 to submit their name for this March’s village […]

Cop: School district ‘as safe as can be’

By Dan King Despite some parents’ concerns, a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy says Whitehall Central School is “as safe as […]

DeLorme’s 199 paces rifle club

Young Joe DeLorme has a career night, shooting a near perfect 199, including a 50 in the difficult standing position. […]

Cheerleaders to perform in competition

The Whitehall varsity cheerleaders will be performing in a cheer competition this weekend. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. on […]

Mayor LaRose to seek reelection

By Derek Liebig Granville Mayor Brian LaRose confirmed last week he will seek a second term in office, saying there […]

Rotary trivia night this weekend

The community’s brightest minds will compete Saturday to determine who has the greatest knowledge of trivia. The Granville Rotary Club […]

Girls’ upended at Hadley-Luzerne

Hadley-Luzerne (1-10, 2-11) cemented its first league win of the season, downing the Whitehall girls’ basketball team 49-27 last Friday. […]