Bascue, Reinbolt start USA Bobsled trials with victories

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) Codie Bascue drove to a victory, and Justin Olsen and Evan Weinstock broke a 5-year-old start record Friday to highlight the first day of the USA Bobsled National Team Trials.

Bascue and brakeman Carlo Valdes won the men’s race in 1 minute, 52.46 seconds. Olsen and Weinstock were 0.14 seconds back, and Nick Cunningham and 2012 U.S. Summer Olympian Ryan Bailey were third.

Valdes spent last season pushing with Steven Holcomb, the former USA-1 driver who died unexpectedly in May. Bascue has now won his last five races at the national team trials, after sweeping a pair of two- and four-man events last season.

”The anticipation has been building up until now, so it’s a weight off our shoulders,” Bascue said. ”But this means nothing if we can’t perform in four-man, so we’re focusing on that now.”

Bascue found more speed on the Mount Van Hoevenberg track than anyone else, even after Olsen and Weinstock pulled off the best start in track history. They made it through the start of their second run in 4.96 seconds, topping the mark of 5.00 set by a Latvian team in Lake Placid in 2012.

Brittany Reinbolt drove to the win in the women’s race, pairing with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1:55.39, nearly a half-second faster than runners-up Kristi Koplin and Kehri Jones. Nicole Vogt and Briauna Jones were third in the women’s race, one where Olympic medalists Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Gruebel Poser did not compete because both have already qualified for the national team.

The women’s trials continue Saturday. The men won’t race again until a four-man event scheduled for Tuesday.

”It’s just day one of two, so I have to stay focused through the night and try to do the same thing tomorrow,” Reinbolt said. ”It was actually the hardest week of training I’ve ever had in Lake Placid of my whole career.”

The trials were delayed three times over the last week because of warm weather.