Folks in York County have been looking forward to summer since a mostly dreadful spring began in March.
For those who attended Sunday’s contest between the York Revolution and the Lancaster Barnstormers, a little glimpse of Summer was finally on hand.
No, not the season most traditionally affiliated with warmer weather, but two-time York County Winter Olympian Summer Britcher.
Months after an up-and-down showing during February’s luge events in South Korea, Glen Rock's Britcher was back in town as the guest of honor of the 2017 Atlantic League champions.
She was given a jersey by the team with her name on the back before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. To cap off the occasion for the Susquehannock High School graduate and her family, Britcher signed autographs for fans over the first three innings of Sunday’s contest.
“I’ve been in the sport of luge ever since I was 12 years old,” Britcher told the crowd before the start of Sunday’s game. “And the one constant has been the support of my family, friends and the community. I’m really excited to be here today and cheer on the York Revolution.”
Hundreds of fans wait in line: Hundreds of fans waited in line for the chance to get an autograph and have their picture taken with the 24-year-old Olympian. Many congratulated her for setting the course record with her second of four runs during the Olympic competition.
That record was the up part of the up-and-down showing for Britcher over a few days of action in Pyeongchang. Her three other singles runs were a disappointment. She finished 19th after finishing 15th in Russia in 2014.
“It was very disappointing,” Britcher said. “For most of the year leading up to it I thought that it would be a really big long shot to get on to the podium (a top-three finish), but that’s what I wanted. But my goals kind of changed a few weeks before with how I was training. I realized that I had a shot, a very good shot, at being on the podium or even potentially winning.”
Britcher won the women’s singles World Cup race in Norway in late January, the last big event beforre the Olympics. She was hoping that would be a springboard toward another standout performance in South Korea.
Mixed bag: Ultimately, however, the results were very much a mixed bag for Britcher.
“I had some trouble adjusting to the Winter Olympic track and it never kind of came together for me,” she said. “And I like to say that I was both so much closer, yet so much further away from getting a medal than I thought I would be.”
Britcher’s performance in her second heat during the first day of the event was everything she could have dreamed of. Her time of 46.132 seconds pushed her from 15th after her first run to the eighth at the end of the first day.
Miscues during her final two runs on the second day, however, resulted in Britcher falling to 19th.
Later in the week, Britcher narrowly missed winning a bronze medal in the team relay event, when the American team took fourth.
Looking ahead: Britcher will now have to move forward over the next three-plus years before the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
“It was rough, it was disappointing,” she said. “But I can only turn it into fuel for the next four years.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.