Ridgefielder Tucker West tied for first place in the men’s singles competition at USA Luge’s national championships last Saturday morning on Mount Van Hoevenberg, outside Lake Placid, N.Y.
In a rare finish, West and Chris Mazdzer tied to the thousandth of a second.
The 17-year-old West, who became one of USA Luge’s youngest national champions in program history, also won gold in the Team Relay.
West and Mazdzer shared the gold medal after a total of four miles and 76 turns. Their aggregate times were an identical 3:33.262.
Aidan Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y., won the bronze medal in a time of 3:33.683.
A member of the 2010 Olympic team, Mazdzer dominated the first three legs of the championship before encountering problems from the start of the fourth heat.
West, a member of the 2012 Youth Olympic Games gold medal relay team, benefited from Mazdzer’s fourth-heat woes.
“Chris is an amazing competitor,” said West. “It feels awesome to be up there with him. I know he had a little problem on that (last) run. But it’s still awesome. This is a confidence builder. I’m hoping to have a good season.
“I had a lot of nerves going in, but I tried to treat it like a training run,” added West. “A tie over four runs … I’ve seen a tie over two runs, but over four runs is pretty amazing.”
With the first-place tie, West continued his progress through the USA Luge system. He has dominated the indoor start championship the past two summers, the youngest person in the team’s history to do so. West, a student at National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, is now among the youngest in USA Luge annals to hold a singles championship.
Cameron Myler, a four-time Olympian, was 16 years of age when she won the 1985 women’s national championship.
In the Team Relay, a recent addition to the 2014 Olympic schedule, West was part of the four-man squad that won the competition by almost one second, in a time of 2:41.181.