Kendall Wesenberg earned the first world cup medal of her career, winning silver Friday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Riding a clean line after a slow start, Wesenberg was second after the first run in 1:09.28. She then shaved two-tenths of a second off her second run time, posting a 1:09.08 for a total time of 2:18.36, 0.15 seconds ahead of reigning world silver medalist Janine Flock of Austria, who took the bronze.
Canada’s Mirela Rahneva ran away from the field to take the gold with a track record time of 2:16.53. In a sport where hundredths of a second can be the difference between a victory and placing out of the medals, Rahneva won by 1.83 seconds, claiming her first world cup victory and third podium in only five career starts.
“I don't really know what to say, I don't have words yet for how I'm feeling,” Wesenberg said to USA Bobsled & Skeleton. “It's always been my goal to succeed at this level, and I've learned this year that everyone is good on the world cup and not only do you need to do everything well, but you need things to go in your favor too. It all needs to come into play at once, and I was able to have that happen today.”
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Wesenberg, 26, continues her improvement throughout the 2017 season, only her second on the world cup tour. After opening in 19th in Whistler, British Columbia, the Castro Valley, California, native has steadily climbed the finish sheet, placing 13th in Lake Placid, New York and 14th in Altenberg, Germany, followed by 10th in Winterberg, Germany. Her previous career-best was a fifth a year ago in Park City, Utah. St. Moritz was the site of her previous best showing on a European track – eighth last February.
She first made a name for herself in the sport in January 2015 when she became the first U.S. woman to win the overall European Cup title.
Three-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender continued her comeback by placing 12th, matching her result two weeks ago in Altenberg. Annie O’Shea’s 17th kept her among the top 10 in the series standings, currently 10th with 704 points.
Matt Antoine placed ninth for the third consecutive race in the men’s competition with a time of 2:16.71, 1.61 behind the 2:15.10 posted by Latvia’s Martins Dukurs. With top-10 finishes in every race this season, Antoine is seventh overall with 866 points, only 31 points away from third place.