The best American athletes competed against the world's ice cross downhill racers in a series of four-man heats in Saint Paul as the main event in the Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener moved a step closer on Friday.
Thousands of fans turned out to watch 19 American skaters, among them Adam Green, Adam Gerlach and Andrew Bergeson, advance to Saturday's final where a total of 64 racers will compete for the big prize.
“I was expecting 10 to 15 to advance so to get 19 through to the next round is really great,” said USA coach Charlie Wasley. “I’m delighted.“
The top-seeded American, Adam Green, won his heat with a classy and confident run, beating Czech veteran Lukas Fiala, while Cameron Naasz came in a close second to Canadian Sebastien Morissette to advance. Americans John Vadnais and Andrew Bergeson came 1-2 in another heat. American Ryan Hoehn (ranked 64) upset Czech Michal Prochazka (13) for second in their heat.
The Americans will carry the home crowd's hopes once again in what will be a tough and uncompromising battle on Saturday against the best of the international athletes – including favourites Arttu Pihlainen and Kyle and Scott Croxall.