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Wesenberg finishes hundredths of a second from top-10 in Igls women’s skeleton World Cup
IGLS, Austria (Jan. 18, 2019)–Kendall Wesenberg(Modesto, Calif.) narrowly missed a top-10 finish, racing to 12th in the women’s skeleton World Cup in Igls, Austria. Savannah Graybill(Denver, Pa.) completed her runs in 16th.
“It’s not the result I was hoping for,” Wesenberg said. “My first run wasn’t what I’m capable of.”
Wesenberg and Graybill were both disappointed with their first runs. Wesenberg’s foot slipped just before loading her sled in the first heat resulting in a start time of 5.70 seconds. She hit at the exit of the 360-degree Kreisel corner, but was still within reach of a top-10 after tying Kimberly Bos from the Netherlands for 13th position. After a 5.64-start time, Graybill bumped the wall out of corner two in the first heat, scrubbing her momentum considerably. She slid to the finish in 55.23 seconds to tie Renata Khuzina from Russia for 16th position.
It was a competitive battle heading into the final heat with just 0.05 seconds separating fourth and seventh, 0.05 seconds separating 13th from 17th and three ties after the first heat. One mistake in the second run could mean the difference between a top-10 or even the medals.
Wesenberg powered off the start in 5.58 seconds, over a tenth of a second faster than heat one, and threaded together a beautiful final run of 54.63 seconds. Bos and Canadian Mirela Rahneva dropped back in standings after difficult second runs, moving Wesenberg into 12th with a combined time of 1:49.81. She was a mere 0.03 seconds from the top-10.
“The second run is what I expect of myself,” Wesenberg said. “In this field you have to have two runs like my second run. One mistake will really cost you.”
Graybill was almost a tenth of a second faster at the start in the second heat, and she put together a flawless run for a time of 54.95 seconds. Her two-run combined time of 1:50.18 was just 0.15 seconds short of surpassing Khuzina, but Graybill moved up to 16th place after Kim Meylemans from Belgium and Bos fell back.
Graybill’s former best World Cup result in Igls was 18th in 2015, making today’s finish her new personal record. Wesenberg was eighth in last season’s Igls World Cup, and she expects to be fighting for the podium.
“I’m really starting to feel like I’m not new to these tracks,” Wesenberg said. “While I may not have as much experience as a lot of the field, I finally have the confidence when I stand on the line. Tuffy (Latour) and Caleb (Smith) helped give us an advantage with their coaching and we’re working really well as a team. It will take some more to get consistent, but I can see the progress.”
Janine Flock secured her first home ice World Cup victory with a combined time of 1:48.64, running away with the gold by 0.43 seconds. Russia’s Elena Nikitina claimed silver in 1:49.07, and Jacqueline Loelling from Germany earned bronze in 1:49.09.
Today’s events will be broadcast on the Olympic Channel from 9-10 a.m. and 10-11 a.m. ET. Racing continues tomorrow with the women’s and two-man bobsled races. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Janine Flock (AUT) 1:48.64 (54.34, 54.30);
2. Elena Nikitina (RUS) 1:49.07 (54.43, 54.64);
3. Jaqueline Loelling (GER) 1:49.09 (54.53, 54.56);
12. Kendall Wesenberg (USA) 1:49.81 (55.18, 54.63);
16. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:50.18 (55.23, 54.95);
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