Erin Hamlin and Chris Mazdzer are well on their way to adding to their medal collections.
Already assured of spots on the World Cup team to start the fall season, Hamlin — the reigning Olympic women’s bronze medalist from Remsen, New York — and Mazdzer both grabbed sizable leads Saturday at the midpoint of USA Luge’s national championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
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The final two runs in each competition are Sunday, along with the crowning of the doubles champions. The World Cup teams to open the season will also be announced Sunday.
Hamlin had the fastest time in each of the two runs of the women’s opening-day competition, finishing with a combined time of 1 minute, 29.063 seconds to lead Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania (1:29.221) and Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Connecticut (1:29.235).
The battle for second could be particularly significant, given that Hamlin and Julia Clukey of Augusta, Maine are already on the World Cup team. Clukey, battling an illness, was fifth on Saturday.
Mazdzer has a huge lead in the men’s competition, the native of Saranac Lake, New York’s time of 1:43.390 putting him 0.335 seconds ahead of Tucker West of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Aidan Kelly of West Islip, New York is in third, nearly a full second off Mazdzer’s pace.