USA Skeleton announces teams for World Cup and Europe Cup
LAKE PLACID — United States Bobsled and Skeleton announced on Nov. 7 its skeleton roster for the IBSF World Cup team and Europe Cup team.
The World Cup team includes Mystique Ro, Sara Roderick, Michelle Toukan and Katie Uhlaender in the women’s division and Dan Barefoot, Austin Florian and Hunter Williams for the men’s division. The sliders named to the EC team are Bradley Nicol, Darryl Payne Jr. and Nick Tucker.
“I am excited for the season to get underway with the new team we have this year,” USA Skeleton head coach Matt Antoine said. “From athletes to coaches, there are a lot of new elements to our program this season. We are all eager to get out there and start competing!”
Ro had success while competing in the North American Cup, Intercontinental Cup and EC circuits and made an appearance on the World Cup circuit. She also won the National Skeleton Push Championships in October and the World Push Championships in 2022.
Roderick is entering her seventh year in the sport and is the reigning National Champion for Women’s Skeleton. She is excited to return to the world stage after taking a break from international competitions last season to rehab. Roderick also slid in a World Cup competition.
Toukan began sliding in 2017 and has had multiple medals and podium finishes on the NAC circuit over the years. She described successfully coming back from a 2021 crash as one of her biggest accomplishments. This will be her first season competing in World Cup competitions.
Uhlaender, a five-time Olympian, two-time World Cup champion, an 11-time World Cup Gold Medalist and six-time National Champion, had the best result in women’s skeleton at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games for the U.S., finishing sixth.
On the men’s side, Barefoot will make his World Cup debut, which will be his seventh season in the sport. One of Barefoot’s greatest accomplishments in the sport thus far has been competing in the World Championships last sliding season.
Florian continues on the World Cup stage after five seasons on the circuit. Last year, he competed in the World Cup Championships. At World Cup races, Florian finished in the top six numerous times.
Williams is entering his sixth year sliding and this season will mark his first year on the World Cup tour. Last season, he had a top-six finish in Sigulda, Latvia on the EC circuit and said it was one of his greatest accomplishments so far.
On the EC circuit, there will be no shortage of talent as well. Nicol has been involved in the sport of skeleton since 2021 and has extensive experience on the NAC circuit. Last season, he placed in the top six three separate times, including a second-place finish in an NAC race in Lake Placid.
Payne Jr. is entering his fifth season in the sport. Over this time, he has become one of the fastest push athletes in men’s skeleton. Last season was his first season sliding in Europe.
Tucker is entering his second year in the sport. Last year at the World Push Championships, he finished in the top eight during his rookie season.
The first World Cup race of the upcoming sliding season will be on Nov. 17 in Yanqing, China. The first EC race will take place in Lillehammer, Norway on Nov. 30.