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Hauptman, Gough, Walker and Snith Claim National Crowns at Fast Track Capital Canadian Luge Championships

CALGARY—Brendan Hauptman and Alex Gough will head to Europe as the king and queen of Canadian luge after winning the Fast Track Capital Canadian Luge Championships at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Friday afternoon.

The 23-year-old Hauptman captured his first national title in just his second year of sliding after clocking a two-run time of one minute, 32.621 seconds. The Kimberly, B.C. native has been strong in training this fall, regularly posting some of the fastest times.

“The first run today was pretty awesome and I couldn’t have asked for much better,” said Hauptman. “Our training runs have been close all week so it was really a matter of who was riding the right set-up today and it was me.”

Recruited to the program as part of the 2010 Legacies Now program, Hauptman knocked off two-time Calgary-based Olympians Sam Edney and Jeff Christie who finished second and third respectively. Edney, who posted the best-ever Olympic result last year by a Canadian in men’s singles when he was seventh, grabbed the silver medal with a time of 1:32.778, while Christie was third at 1:33.000.

Hauptman narrowly missed qualifying the 2010 Olympic team after coming up short in a race-off against two-time Olympian, Ian Cockerline.

“In retrospect last year was another year of learning and it is now behind me,” he said. “But now I really believe I have something to prove. I want to go out there and show I belong on the World Cup team and get to the next Olympics.”

Calgary’s Alex Gough found her way back onto the top of the women’s podium after claiming her fourth national crown. The 23-year-old Gough, who emerged as the leader of the Canadian women’s program two years ago, clocked a two-run time of 1:36.396.

“It went pretty well today and a little better than I expected,” said Gough, who is anxious to get back onto some of the other tracks around the world. “I’m a little in the dark as to where I stand and I’m excited to get racing again.”

Gough, who is the only Canadian woman to finish fourth at a World Championships, was poised to contend for a medal position at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when race organizers moved the start position lower down the track.

“I do feel like everything I trained the two years before the Games was for a race they never held,” said Gough. “It does make me a bit hungrier. I want to come out and give it everything I have and shoot for the podium this year.”

With the retirement of Olympians Regan Lauscher and Meaghan Simister, Gough was pressed by a new group of young Canucks vying for a spot on the World Cup team. Gough was joined on the team by Arianne Jones who finished second at 1:37.057, while Kim McRae rounded out the women’s podium in third with a time of 1:37.512.

Olympic doubles tandem Tristan Walker and Justin Snith won their first national doubles title with a time of 1:30.589.

The Canadian Championships were the second of three selection races to determine Canada’s World Cup Team. The 2010 World Cup circuit kicks off in Austria November 27.

The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of its title sponsor, Fast Track Capital, along with the support from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.

Men’s Top-Five Results;
1. Brendan Hauptman, Kimberly, B.C., 1:32.621; 2. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:32.778; 3. Jeff Christie, Calgary, 1:33.000; 4. Tristan Walker, Calgary, 1:34.482; 5. Justin Snith, Calgary, 1:35.991.

Women’s Top-Five Results:
1. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:36.396; 2. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:37.057; 3. Kim McRae, Calgary, 1:37.512; 4. Jordyn Carrs, Calgary, 1:38.455; 5. Laura Glover, Calgary, 1:38.487.

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