Gustafson, Britcher win US luge titles in Lake Placid

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Jonny Gustafson won the USA Luge men’s national championship Saturday, hours after reigning champion Chris Mazdzer said he could not compete because of injuries.

Gustafson was an easy winner, especially after World Cup veteran and former national champion Tucker West crashed and did not finish his first run in the two-heat competition at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Gustafson finished his two runs in 1 minute, 43.522 seconds. Sean Hollander was second and Zach DiGregorio third.

Summer Britcher successfully defended her women’s national championship with a two-run time of 1:28.292, barely ahead of Emily Sweeney’s 1:28.298. Brittney Arndt took third.

Mazdzer, the 2018 Olympic men’s singles silver medalist, said he would not be leaving with the team for Europe as planned Monday. He needs more time at home to heal before he’s fully ready for the World Cup season.

“I have been struggling with some physical ailments like a torn tendon in my arm and a chronic neck issue that I need to address before I can get back on the road and into the sled,” he said.

The nationals had been scheduled as a two-day, four-heat event, but severe weather in the Adirondacks forced the cancellation of Friday’s racing.

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