MASSENA - Johnny Gustafson has gotten off to an impressive start in the early stages of the Junior Luge World Cup, ranking in the top 10 through Friday nights action.
Mr. Gustafson, a junior at Massena Central High School, is spending the month of January traveling throughout Europe to compete with the elite competition.
He is ranked two spots behind fellow United States luger Owen Riley Stohr.
We are absolutely delighted with the results so far. Seventh out of 30 is a great start, Johnnys father, Eric, said. We talked to him this morning and he was on cloud nine. Hes really excited.
Johnny has been strongest in the middle portions of his races so far, ranking seventh and third in the second and third intervals, through both heats of the first race respectively. He finished his first heat in a time of 43.530 seconds, while nearly duplicating his result in the second round at 43.113 seconds. This gave Johnny a total time of 1:26:643, just one second off the pace for the number one ranked luger.
We didnt have any expectations because we didnt know what to expect. A top 10 finish in a junior world cup event is more than we could have hoped for, Eric Gustafson said.
The 16-year-old has averaged a speed of approximately 109 kilometers per hour, which is equivalent to 68 miles per hour.
Johnny is currently on his way to Konigssee, Germany, where he will be participating in the second of four legs of the luge competition.
Following next weekends races in Konigsee, he will be luging in Oberhof, Germany the weekend of Jan. 24, and finishing in Igls, Austria the weekend of Jan. 31.
The U.S. team consists of Johnny, one doubles team, one junior member, two youth girls, and one junior girl.