Former University of Minnesota hockey defenseman Brian Schack was the fastest qualifier from Thursday night's National Shoot Out at Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul. Almost 100 athletes took to the quarter-mile-long ice track in the brutal cold, hoping to earn their right to advance and race against the best skaters in a talented international field.
With the top 32 advancing to Friday’s Elimination Round to face off against 32 top international skaters, this was the opportunity for many of the athletes to make a name for themselves in the new sport as ice cross downhill makes its mark in Minnesota, the State of Hockey.
Schack, a towering 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound athlete and former Gopher, had a pair of brilliant runs down the challenging ice track set up on a slope in front of the Cathedral of Saint Paul and running down toward the frozen-solid Mississippi River, stopping the clock at 40.81 seconds on his first run.
American Adam Gerlach was second at 40.92, while Daniel Guolla of Canada took third on an evening when temperatures dipped as low as 1 degree Fahrenheit.
“It’s a good feeling to get first tonight but tomorrow when all the other international athletes are out here I’ll just be another name in the pile,” said Schack, 26. “I’m very happy with my time.”
Schack made it to the round of 64 in his first race in Quebec in 2012 and the Round of 32 in Niagara Falls in December.
21-year-old Tyler Whitty, the fastest skater from the final qualifying event in Saint Paul two weeks ago, finished ninth. The native of nearby New Prague recorded a best time of 44.05 seconds.
Austin Isaac, the younger brother of one of USA's top ice cross downhill skaters, Tigh Isaac, qualified for the next round as the 11th fastest athlete. Check the Red Bull Crashed Ice site for full results.
- Watch the Red Bull Crashed Ice Niagara Falls recap on NBC
- Watch the live web stream of Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul on January 26
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