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Glen Rock's Summer Britcher enjoys her best World Cup finish of luge season

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Summer Britcher of United States smiles after she placed third of a women's race at the Luge World Cup event in Sigulda, Latvia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

Glen Rock’s Summer Britcher enjoyed her best World Cup luge finish of the season on Sunday in Oberhof, Germany.

The Susquehannock High School graduate finished seventh in the women’s race, which was the best finish by an American in 2021 World Cup action. Britcher had finished 15th and 10th in her previous World Cup races this season.

The United States has had four top-10 performances since returning to the World Cup  – two of them from Britcher - after sitting out the first half of the year due to the travel restrictions created by the coronavirus.

Britcher, a 2014 and 2018 Olympian, set the course record in winning Friday’s Nations Cup race on a weekend where colder temperatures led to fast ice, very good conditions and touched off a litany of record times in all disciplines. Britcher’s two runs on Sunday bettered her effort on Friday, but so did a lineup of other athletes as no fewer than 13 competitors went faster.

Approximately 48 hours after the Nations Cup, Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger left with the track record in winning for the 50th time in her brilliant career. Britcher’s two runs put her 0.5 of a second behind the winner.

Britcher did not get off to the best start in the first run as she pulled left from the handles and squandered valuable fractions.

 “Unfortunately, I had some mistakes on the start in my first run, a pretty big mistake that cost me,” said the five-time World Cup winner on the USA Luge website. “But I was able to rally and had an okay run after that. Not really the runs I wanted but I had a great time racing today.”

Geisenberger remains in first place on the season with 780 points after nine of 12 events. Defending World Cup champion, Julia Taubitz, also of Germany, was fifth in the race and remains second overall with 706 points. The emerging Madeleine Egle of Austria is now third ranked on the year. Egle collected a silver medal Sunday. The 1-3-5 German finish included bronze medalist Anna Berreiter, 0.01 behind Egle.

Only two World Cup stops remain on the season schedule – Jan. 23-24 in Igls for the second time this winter, and the World Cup finals Feb. 6-7 in St. Moritz.

“I’m definitely looking forward to Igls,” Britcher said on the USA Luge website. “It’s a track I’ve found success on in the past so I’m excited to race there and excited to build into the World Championships.”

The highlight of the year occurs Jan. 29-31 back in Koenigssee for the World Luge Championships. The event was moved from Whistler, B.C. due to COVID-19.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. USA Luge contributed to this story.