By Chrös McDougall | Feb. 15, 2019, 11:18 a.m. (ET)

Kendall Wesenberg starts her slide at a training session ahead of 2019 IBSF World Cup Bobsled & Skeleton on Feb. 14, 2019 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

 

The U.S. skeleton team claimed its first world cup podium finish of the season on Friday when Kendall Wesenberg raced to a third-place finish in Lake Placid, New York.

Wesenberg, a 2018 U.S. Olympian, finished 0.51 seconds behind Russia’s Elena Nikitina and Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling, both of whom are Olympic medalists who tied for first place with a time of 1:50.59. Savannah Graybill, the other American in the race, finished 12th

The podium finish was the first for an American skeleton racer on the world cup circuit since Wesenberg finished second in 2017 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. That was also Wesenberg’s only previous world cup podium.

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Her best finish so far this season had been seventh in January, also in St. Moritz. She also won a North American Cup competition last November in Whistler, British Columbia.

Wesenberg, a 28-year-old from Modesto, California, took up the sport after watching it at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010, and she made her Olympic debut last year in PyeongChang, finishing 17th. She’s finished as high as 13th at the world championships, which she did in 2017.

The women’s skeleton competition kicks off a busy weekend of racing in Lake Placid, with two-man and women’s bobsled still to come on Friday, followed by men’s skeleton and four-man bobsled on Saturday.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Karen Price contributed to this report.