(ISN) – CALGARY—Justin Kripps and Kaillie Humphries drove their bobsleighs through heavy snow to climb onto the top of the men’s and women’s Canadian Championship podiums, while Madison Charney captured the national women’s skeleton crown on Saturday at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
The 27-year-old Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., teamed up with Calgary’s two-time Olympic medallist, Lascelles Brown, to win his first national bobsleigh title in the men’s two man. Kripps, who won his first World Cup race as a pilot last year just weeks before representing Canada at the Olympics in Sochi, clocked the fastest times in both runs to win with a combined time of 1:56.11.
“Lascelles and I have had a couple of reps together in the past so we new we’d be strong on the push. It was pretty snowy, but under the circumstances it was a good day,” said Kripps. “Canadian Champs is a good tune-up for us. We are working on our pushing and loading, but I treat it like a real race to get my head space back. This is a really good way to get back in the zone.”
Kripps’ Olympic teammate, Chris Spring, joined up with fellow Calgarian, Derek Plug, to clock a silver-medal time of 1:56.42. Ontario’s Nick Poloniato and Alex Kopacz teamed up to win the bronze medal at 1:58.01.
Two-time Olympic champion, Kaillie Humphries, continued her reign as the queen of Canadian bobsleigh. The 29-year-old Humphries joined forces with rookie brakeman, Melissa Lothalz of Edmonton, to handily win the gold in the women’s race. The newly formed Canadian duo clocked a time of 1:59.57.
“We have a lot of new people this year so we are just taking things slow, trying to work on things and make it work with the new members of the team,” said Humphries, who also started piloting her four-man sled for the first time in training this week. “Overall it was good to have Melissa see and understand a race tonight. We have a lot of learning to do, but this is year one of four. Everything is step by step and tonight was another good step forward.”
Ontario’s Julia Corrente and Calgary’s Kate O’Brien slid to the silver-medal step of the podium with a time of 2:02.41. Edmotonians, Alysia Rissling and Melissa Lowe, locked up the bronze with a time of 2:02.48.
Earlier in the day, 20-year-old Madison Charney powered her way through heavy snow to capture her first national title in women’s skeleton. Competing in just her fifth season in the sport, the Brooks, Alta. native clocked a two-run time of 2:07:42.
“It’s a big surprise for me,” beamed Charney following the medal ceremony. “I have raced in snow here before so I knew a little bit what was going to go on. A few of us have a little more experience than others so I guess that showed today.”
Sitting in fourth spot after the opening bomb down the 1,430-metre track in Calgary, Charney bolted off the start block with a time of 5.60 that helped her eventually propel three spots up the leaderboard onto the top of the podium in her second run.
“I pushed a personal best on the second run ,” said Charney, whose top international result was a ninth-place finish at the 2014 Junior World Championships. “I was relaxed and felt good, and just let my sled do its thing today.”
Charney edged out first-run leader, Lanette Prediger, for the title. Calgary’s Prediger was second at 2:07.46. Elisabeth Vathje, also of Calgary, rounded out the women’s skeleton podium after clocking a bronze-medal time of 2:08.43.
The Bobsleigh and Skeleton Canadian Championships wrap up on Sunday with the men’s skeleton race at 1 p.m. followed by four-man bobsleigh racing at 5 p.m.