Glen Rock's Summer Britcher wins World Cup silver for best USA Luge finish in nearly 2 years

Summer Britcher of the U.S. reacts after the women's competition at the Luge Sprint World Cup 2021/2022 in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Ekaterina Lyzlova)

Glen Rock’s Summer Britcher gave USA Luge its best individual World Cup finish in nearly two years on Sunday.

The Susquehannock High School graduate grabbed a silver medal in the women’s sprint race in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, near Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Germany’s Julia Taubitz won the sprint race in 31.743 seconds. Britcher was second in 31.764 seconds. Dajana Eitberger of Germany was third in 31.775.

Britcher’s silver medal was the best finish for the United States in a singles or doubles World Cup race since she won silver at Lillehammer in January 2020.

The sprint event is a one-heat dash where the sliders, from their usual start heights, generate about 100 meters of momentum before the timing is triggered, hence the “flying start” concept to begin each run.

“My sprint race this evening was really good,” Britcher said on the USA Luge website. “I was finally able to figure out some problem spots for me from earlier in the World Cup. I really put down a great run and happy to come away with a silver medal.”

Earlier in the day, Taubitz won the traditional two-heat women’s race, beating German teammate Natalie Geisenberger by 0.368 seconds in that two-run competition. Kendija Aparjode of Latvia was third in 1:39.856. Britcher was 10th in that event. It was her second consecutive 10th-place finish at Sochi in the traditional two-heat women’s race. In the season-opening race in China on Nov. 21, Britcher was 13th.

Britcher, a two-time Olympian, has now satisfied the criteria for USA Luge Tier B Beijing Olympic qualification. The 2022 Beijing Winter Games are set for Feb. 4-Feb. 20.

Britcher is eighth in the overall World Cup women’s singles luge standings after four of 13 events.

Britcher has five World Cup career victories, making her the all-time singles leader in USA Luge history

In the men’s sprint on Sunday, Dominik Fischnaller of Italy got his seventh career World Cup victory by prevailing over Roman Repilov of Russia and Wolfgang Kindl of Austria.

And in the doubles sprint, Latvian brothers Andris Sics and Juris Sics got the win over Aleksandr Denisev and Vladislav Antonov, both of Russia. Germans Robin Geueke and David Gamm were third, two spots ahead of the American sled of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman.

The World Cup luge series moves to Altenberg, Germany, next weekend.

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