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Glen Rock's Summer Britcher is top American at luge world event, pre-qualifies for Olymics

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Summer Britcher of USA celebrates in the finish area after the women's race at the Luge World Championships in Koenigssee, Germany, Sunday Jan. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Andreas Schaad)

Glen Rock’s Summer Britcher earned three top-seven finishes over the weekend at the luge world championships, narrowly missing out on a medal in the team relay event.

Britcher was the top American slider at the event.

The U.S. relay team of Britcher, Tucker West and the doubles sled of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman finished fourth. The Americans ended up less than 0.2 of a second from another world championship bronze medal, which they achieved last year in Sochi.

“I’m pretty happy with our performance today with a fourth place,” Britcher said on the USA Luge website. “I was able to put down a pretty good run and my teammates here backed it up. We had less than ideal weather conditions, so it feels good to have a strong showing and a solid performance.”

Britcher also finished sixth in the women’s singles event and seventh in the women’s sprint event. She was the best U.S. performer in each of those events.

“I have a mix of emotions,” Britcher said on the USA Luge website. “I had a few mistakes in my runs but overall, they were fairly decent runs. Not the most ideal weather conditions. I never usually perform too well in warmer weather and softer ice, so to be up there in the top six is something to be proud of.”

Pre-qualifies for Olympics: The result pre-qualified Britcher for the 2022 Olympic team, pending approval of USA Luge Olympic Team selection policy by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Britcher is already a two-time Olympian, having competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics.

Luge’s World Cup season ends next weekend in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Britcher is looking forward to racing in the posh resort. It’ll be her first visit there. The World Cup competes in the Engadin region infrequently at most. With the Beijing Games just one year away, her pre-qualified status provides a measure of relief once the Olympic season gets underway.

“To be pre-qualified for the Olympics, to just know I have my World Cup spot secured for next season, is very nice," she said on the USA Luge website. "It sort of takes a little bit of the pressure off going into the fall, and I can just really focus on testing equipment and building momentum. I’m very happy with the day.”

Top finishers at world championships: Julia Taubitz led a German sweep of the medals in Sunday’s luge women’s world championship event, and Austria closed the meet by winning the team relay title.

Taubitz was first, Natalie Geisenberger second and Dajana Eitberger third for the medal sweep in the women’s race. It was Germany’s first 1-2-3 finish in the women’s overall race since 2008; the Germans also went 1-2-3 in the women’s sprint race on Saturday.

Austria’s team of Madeleine Egle, David Gleirscher and Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller took the gold in the relay, followed by Germany and Latvia.

The event was held in Konigssee, Germany, and the host country dominated the event, winning 12 of the 21 medals handed out.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch. The Associated Press and USA Luge contributed to this report.