USA Luge looking for next generation of sliders in Duluth

A Prior Lake 7th grader speeds down the track in training. He was discovered by USA Luge officials at its annual slider search, which slides through Duluth this weekend. 

The summer Olympics are about two months away, but a unique winter Olympic sport is in Duluth this weekend looking for its next crop of talent. 

USA Luge is looking for its next generation of athletes and they’re holding a slider search this weekend. It’s exactly how a Prior Lake student made his way onto the development team. 

Zack Sevcik has ice in his veins and a need for speed. The 12-year-old is on the USA Luge Development team. He returned to Lake Placid, New York this winter for more training. 

"I got a bunch of time on ice," Sevcik said. "I got time training with my coach and my team and I really enjoyed it." 

Sevcik got his start at the slider search, where athletes audition on a luge sled built with rollers. 

"It’s really a great program for us it’s produced, probably 75 to 80 percent of our last six Olympic teams," said Gordy Sheer, of USA Luge. "So, you know, aside from looking for Olympians, we’re also looking for kids to come out and have some fun."

Sheer won a silver medal for men’s doubles at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. He is tasked with looking for new sliders at the University of Duluth this weekend. 

"We’re looking for kids who are enthusiastic, coachable and not afraid of a little bit of speed, you know," he said. "They’ll probably get going around 20-25 miles an hour, and they have to have that innate driving ability." 

"It’s really fun," said Sevcik. "It’s exhilarating and it could give you the opportunity to be an Olympic athlete and walk in with Team USA on that stage, which I think would be a really cool thing to experience." 

The White Castle Slider Search takes place this weekend at the UMD Campus in Duluth. USA Luge wants you to register in advance. You can do so here.