West wins World Cup luge in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) For Tucker West, everything changed in a week. And it'll be a week he never forgets.

West won the men's World Cup luge race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Friday, making him the first American man to prevail on the circuit in nearly 18 years. He was dominant, setting a track record in each of his two runs down the chute and ending the day with only one slider managing to stay within a second of his time - a massive margin in luge.

''Surreal,'' West said.

The 19-year-old from Danbury, Connecticut, finished two runs in 1 minute, 42.117 seconds. Austria's Wolfgang Kindl was second, more than three-quarters of a second back. Italy's Dominik Fischnaller took third.

Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, New York, was fourth, with Alexandr Peretjagin of Russia fifth and Olympic champion Felix Loch of Germany in sixth - nearly 1.2 seconds behind West's pace.

It was the second straight time that the powerful German men's team failed to medal in Lake Placid.

''These are some of the top dogs,'' West said. ''I never knew that I could compete with them at such a level.''

Not only did West win, he did so a week after failing to qualify for the World Cup season-opener in Austria. West is the first American to win a men's World Cup race since Wendel Suckow at Nagano, Japan, in February 1997, and the youngest U.S. men's slider to win on the circuit.

Also for the U.S., Aidan Kelly of West Islip, New York, was seventh and Riley Stohr of Whitehall, Michigan, was 11th.

''It all came together today,'' West said.

In doubles earlier Friday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken led a 1-2 finish for the Germans with a combined two-run time of 1:27.651, about one-third of a second better than countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt. Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were third.

For the U.S. in doubles, Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman were sixth, and Justin Krewson and Tristan Jeskanen were 13th.

Sliding in Lake Placid continues Saturday with the women's race and the team relay.

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