CANADA'S JUNIOR LUGE TEAM PUTS NATIONAL PROGRAM ON TRACK TOWARDS BRIGHT FUTURE
The eight athletes named to the Canadian Junior Luge Team include five young Canucks returning for their second stint on the national team, and three rookies looking to make their mark against the world's best junior lugers.
"Our program has significantly improved at the senior level including winning two World Cup medals since 2002, and that has played a key role recruiting new young Canadians to the sport," said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association, who adds the program is deeper and more talented than ever. "It is our goal to continue to develop our athletes, at both the junior and senior level, in anticipation of winning the nations first ever Olympic medal in luge. This success starts with strong grassroots programming and recruitment, and we are optimistic that Canada will continue to compete for the international podium well into the future with the athletes we have in the system now."
Leading the junior women's team is the 2006 Junior Canadian champion Andrea Petersen. The 17-year-old native of Calgary exploded onto the circuit in 2005-2006, clinching two top-five finishes on the Junior World Cup, including a bronze medal in La Plagne, France. She will be joined by rookie team members Denae Delcourt, 17, in the junior women's division and Arianne Jones in the youth A women's division.
Returning to the men's team for his second year is 15-year-old Stefan Rath. As one of the youngest members of the team, Rath produced outstanding results in the youth A men's division, bringing home five top-10 finishes and a silver medal in La Plagne, France. A Grade 11 student at the National Sport School, which is a joint initiative with the Calgary Board of Education and CODA, Rath has enjoyed success both on and off the ice, achieving top academic awards while competing and traveling internationally with the luge team.
"Andrea and Stefan both exceeded expectations in their rookie season last year, and we are looking forward to watching them build on that early success into the future," said Farstad. "We are encouraged by their potential, and they will be a core component to one of the strongest junior contingent's Canada has sent on the circuit for years."
Rounding out the men's team are junior doubles partners David Adair and Cameron Gunn, who completed their first season together with three top-10 finishes on the Junior World Cup. Adair and Gunn are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Canada's senior men's doubles teams who have successfully competed against the worlds' best. Brendan Hauptman, 19, who is part of the B.C. Sport initiative to recruit athletes within the province, and new addition Tristan Walker, 15, complete the men's team.
Canada's junior luge athletes make their international debut November 27 - December 2, 2006 at the Junior World Cup in Winterberg, Germany.
The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. In partnership with CODA, the Canadian Luge Association operates the Olympic Luge Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, which develops our nation's high-performance luge athletes and promotes the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
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Canadian Luge Association