Jamie Greubel, Emily Azevedo win
Jamie Greubel entered the U.S. women's bobsled national team trials fully expecting to claim a spot on the team headed to the World Cup circuit.
The way she drove Friday night sealed the deal.
Greubel and brakeman Emily Azevedo won Friday night in the final women's race of the team trials on the 2002 Olympic track in Park City, Utah, completing two runs in 1 minute, 39.41 seconds. Greubel and Azevedo finished 0.3 seconds ahead of Elana Meyers and Tracey Stewart, although that result was somewhat meaningless because Meyers already clinched a spot on the team.
"Having a race like this builds a lot of confidence," Greubel said. "Being in the first position, you really have to step it up and have a good second run, so it's great practice for me mentally. It definitely does a lot for my confidence."
The women's national team is expected to be announced Saturday, with Meyers, Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator the likely selections as drivers.
"It feels really great," Greubel said. "The offseason is really long and you work really hard and you put the time in the weight room and you try to eat the right things and be the right weight. For all that to come together on the ice at the beginning of the season feels really good because after all that preparation you put into it, you're finally realizing it in the sport."
Fenlator and Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones finished third Friday, 0.51 seconds off the pace set by Greubel and Azevedo. Bree Schaaf and Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams were fourth, another 0.03 seconds back.
Also Friday, the men's four-man trials began with the team of Steven Holcomb, Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt winning with a two-run time of 1:35.99, more than a half-second faster than any other sled.
Holcomb drove the sled dubbed "Night Train Squared," the latest version of the sled he used to win the Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
"It's a good day for me," Holcomb said. "Racing's fun. It's more my forte, it's my bread and butter, it's what I like to do. Overall, it was a pretty good day. We showed that the Night Train Squared is a pretty good sled."
When the four-man trials continue Saturday, Holcomb will use the original "Night Train," which was refurbished this summer. Holcomb is already assured of a spot on the national team, so he can experiment freely without fear of repercussions.
"We're attempting to go 100 percent. I think you max out at 96," Holcomb said. "You still take it seriously, you're still going hard, but there's that little bit that reminds you that it doesn't count completely yet."
The team of Nick Cunningham, Dallas Robinson, Johnny Quinn and Abe Morlu was second Friday, 0.54 seconds behind Holcomb's team. Cory Butner, Chuck Berkeley, Andreas Drbal and Chris Langton were third, another 0.16 seconds off the pace.