Saranac Soft Drinks USA Luge Slider Search Coming To Utica August 20th

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that for a 3rd consecutive year, USA Luge will conduct Slider Search Clinics in Utica August 20th. This year’s Slider Search is being sponsored by Saranac Soft Drinks. This one day only Slider Search will give young Oneida County (11-14) athletes the opportunity to experience the thrill of the fastest sport on ice while being trained under the guidance of 2009 World Champion Erin Hamlin of Remsen. Hamlin, a member of the 2006 and 2010 USA Luge Olympic Team and 5 time World Cup Medalist, USA Luge national team members and USA Luge coaches will conduct the clinic(s).


“The annual summer Slider Search hosted by Saranac Soft Drinks and USA Luge is the first step that can lead to a future in one of the world’s fastest sports,” Picente said. “Erin Hamlin, along with many of her USA Olympic teammates, took her first steps to competition on the wheel sleds that are used for the summer Slider Search. Over 100 Oneida County youth have participated in our previous Slider Searches. Of the 100+ Oneida County youth, 5 of those youth are now members of the USA Junior Development Luge Team; Marissa Cornelius of Deansboro, Shannon Knapp of Marcy, Hannah Miller of Rome, McKayla O’Rourke of Camden and Katy Shelhamer of Cold Brook.”

The Saranac Soft Drinks USA Slider Search in Utica will be held on the hill down Cornelia Street between Court and Columbia Streets near Utica City Hall. There will be 2 clinics, 9 a.m.-12 noon and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Only 25 slots are open for each clinic. THE CLINIC IS FREE AND THERE IS NO RAIN DATE! Advance registration is on line at or by calling 1-800-USA-LUGE. Advance registration ensures a spot; if there are vacancies, athletes can register the day of the event. Boys and Girls 11-14 are eligible. All athletes participating must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

“This is a chance for a young athlete to actually get on a sled and see what the luge is all about and to see if they want to make the commitment that it takes,” Hamlin said.” I’m very excited that USA Luge is once again, bringing this great event to Oneida County so that all of the young people who I have come to meet as a result of my competing in luge can have their chance to give it a try.”

“Utica is proud to once again host this fantastic event and to give all our young people ages 11-14 an opportunity to see firsthand what this great sport is all about,” said Utica Mayor David Roefaro. “I’m encouraging these young athletes to take the lead from Erin Hamlin, a World Champion, Olympian and a competitor who never gives up, giving the Slider Search a try and seeing if they could be our next Olympian.”

“In 2 years hosting Slider Search Clinics, Oneida County has proved to have a deep talent pool of athletes,” Fred Zimny, USA Luge coach said. “It’s unusual that 5 athletes from one city’s Slider Search would go on and be named to our Junior Development Team, as there are many athletes vying to get to that level. However, that’s exactly what has happened! We look forward to coming back to Utica on August 20th this year to introduce luge to a whole new group of future lugers!”

During a USA Luge Slider Search Clinic, USA Luge coaches and athletes teach youngsters the basics of riding a luge sled, including position, steering and stopping. Armed with the basics, the young athletes make several runs down a paved street on wheeled sleds. Finally, the youngsters measure their physical skills through a battery of fitness tests. Those who show promise at the clinics are invited to train in Lake Placid or Park City, Utah. They also will be considered for the 2011-2012 USA Luge Development Team.