Snow piled up in Germany this weekend, and so did Summer Britcher’s medal collection.
A second-run stunner scored Glen Rock's Britcher a silver medal at the World Cup women's singles luge event Saturday in Berchtesgarden-Königssee, Germany.
She collected another World Cup medal on Sunday when she was part of an American team that won a team relay bronze medal. Britcher now has four World Cup medals this season.
In the women's singles, the two-time Olympian clocked in at 52.715 seconds for the second-best second-run time of any competitor, pushing her way onto the podium after posting only the ninth-best time during her first run. Her 1:45.391 second total was second only to Germany’s Julia Taubitz.
If that sounds a little familiar, it should. Britcher, a Susquehannock High School graduate who finished 19th overall at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, is something of a second-run sensation. Despite her ranking at the Winter Games last February, she set the course record in her second go on the track.
Taubitz was the only person to better Britcher’s time on the day’s final run, crossing the line in 52.405 seconds for a winning total of 1:44.971 seconds. Austria’s Hannah Prock took third.
Snowy day: Taubitz prevailed on a track where snow piling up befuddled many sliders. German star Natalie Geisenberger was one of many who struggled in the snow and finished eighth on her home track, ending a streak of 25 consecutive World Cup races with a medal for the Olympic champion.
Race officials swept the track after every three sliders, and those on the track immediately following the sweep reaped the benefits. Those who had to plow through the snow lost considerable speed and had slimmer chances of a medal.
"There's only so much you can do to steer around snow," Britcher said. "I just let the sled go middle. It was simple and didn't complicate things for me."
Russian Ekaterina Katnikova, who was leading after the first heat and took advantage of clean ice, was 22nd on a snow-covered track in the second heat and finished 17th overall. Geisenberger managed to keep her World Cup overall lead, her advantage over Taubitz trimmed to 17 points. Britcher remained third in the overall standings.
Britcher teamed with Tucker West and the doubles team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman for bronze in the relay on Sunday, the last event of a stormy weekend. Germany won the team relay gold, followed by Austria with the silver.
“The team relay is always my favorite race,” Britcher said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s great to have that feeling of being part of a team. I had a lot of fun racing (Saturday) and historically have done really well in the team relay race here. And it ended up OK.”
The World Cup luge season continues next weekend in Sigulda, Latvia.
Information for this story was provided by the Associated Press and Blythe Lawrence, a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor toTeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.