WINTERBERG, Germany (Dec. 8, 2012)- Three North American sleds finished in the top four in this morning’s women’s bobsled World Cup race in Winterberg, and two were U.S. teams. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) slid a silver medal performance, while Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) were just 0.04 seconds from the medals in fourth.
“This is a pretty exciting morning,” Meyers said. “To come away with three North Americans in the top four on a German track is awesome. Hopefully this is just a glimpse of what’s to come.”
Meyers and Eberling teamed together for the first time since earning the 2012 World Championship bronze medal last season. The decorated duo burst off the block to break the start record in the first heat with a push time of 5.55 seconds, and Meyers navigated the KOA sled to the finish with the second fastest time of the heat.
“It’s nice to be back with Katie,” Meyers said. “She’s a great brakeman, and we learned last season that we work really well together. I felt pretty good after the first heat, and I knew I just had to have another great run to keep us in the mix.”
Meyers and Eberling again set the pace at the start, and Meyers threaded together another clean run to maintain medal position with a two-run total of 1:54.15. The pair had fallen back into bronze medal position after Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valois moved up from third to take the lead with a total time of 1:54.05.
First run leaders Anja Schneiderheinze and Stephanie Schneider were the last to descend the course. The German crew made some surprising errors on their home track, and Schneiderheinze fell back 0.14 seconds to the Canadians. Meyers and Eberling were bumped back up into second to claim the silver medal, and Humphries won her fourth race to continue her sweep of the women’s races this season.
“We didn’t start the week so well, so to come back and put down some good times today feels great,” Meyers said. “It was definitely a good day.”
Meyers and Greubel had a tough start to the week. Both pilots are still learning the European tracks and crashed during training runs, but they were undeterred by the hiccup.
Greubel and Azevedo competed together in the Sliding for Hope sled. The pair clocked a start of 5.61 for a run of 57.13 seconds to position themselves in eighth after the first run.
“I had a couple of skids and the sled was sliding around a little at the top,” Greubel said. “Emily and I kept our composure between runs and we knew we had time to work with.”
Greubel and Azevedo pushed off the block in 5.62 and Greubel threw down a run of 57.10 seconds, which was the fastest time of all sleds in the final heat. Their total time of 1:54.23 moved Greubel and Azevedo up four spots just 0.04 seconds from the medals.
“I feel great,” Greubel said. “I had a really amazing second run, and even though it’s frustrating finishing so close to third, I’m still really happy. People always expect us to do well on our home track, so it’s a nice change to do well on someone else’s home track. It was great racing with Emily and to put USA back on the podium.”
Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) teamed with national push champion Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) for 13th. The duo powered the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Foundation sled off the start block in 5.57 and 5.64 seconds for runs of 57.42 and 57.41 seconds, respectively. Fenlator had a bumpy first run and was one of few pilots to better her time in the second heat. The U.S. pair posted a total time of 1:54.83 to finish just 0.12 seconds shy of the top 10.
Racing continues today with the men’s two-man bobsled World Cup at 1 pm local time (7 am ET), and the team competition at 4:30 pm (10:30 ET).
1. Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valois (CAN) 1:54.05 (56.94, 57.11); 2. Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling (USA) 1:54.15 (56.90, 57.25); 3. Anja Schneiderheinze and Stephanie Schneider (GER) 1:54.19 (56.89, 57.30); 4. Jamie Greubel and Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:54.23 (57.13, 57.10);…13. Jazmine Fenlator and Aja Evans (USA) 1:54.83 (57.42, 57.41);