US National Luging coach visits Marquette County during recruiting event

National Coaches in luging from the U.S. and Austria were in Negaunee teaching youth how to luge.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 8:58 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.P. is a great location for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, Hockey, and luging. The U.P Luge Club held a wheeled luge event for people to try on the hill behind the Michigan Iron History Museum.

The U.S. Luging head coach and Austrian head coach were both in attendance teaching kids of all ages. U.S. National Luging Head Coach Keith Whitman said great athletes can come from anywhere.

“We want to recruit future athletes. They don’t have to come from Lake Placid New York, Colorado Springs, or Los Angeles. They can come from the Upper Peninsula. Most of our present National team members come from the Upper Peninsula.” said Whitman.

Luging is a unique sport where a rider races a course on a sled at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour. The racer uses their hands and feet to steer while sliding on ice.

U.P. Luge Club athlete and NMU student Leonard Pizziola said luging uses a lot of different muscles to control the sled.

“Certain movements that you do, you need certain muscles. Keith Whitman likes to say a lot of lugers are strong in the core and in the arms because you are reaching out and most of your muscles come from there,” said Pizziola.

Pizziola said he will find out in October if he has made it onto the U.S. National team. He also said that his number one goal is to compete and win.

“Top of the line goal, Definitely making the U.S. National team traveling Europe and competing. You’re going over there and competing with really good people who have been there they know the course very well. So, not getting last place, is not an option for me,” said Pizziola

Anyone interested in luging can find more information about the U.P. Luge Club online.