CALGARY—Barrett Martineau and Elisabeth Vathje captured their second national titles on Saturday at the Canadian Skeleton Championships being contested at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park.
The 26-year-old Martineau dug deep to capture the men’s title with a two-run time of 1:52.86.
“Based on how the evaluation races have been going, it has been so tight and everyone is so competitive, so I was happy to pull it out today and end up on top of the podium,” said Martineau. “This is my home track. I am super dialed in here. I’m comfortable and confident so I’m definitely feeling good right now.”
Martineau squeaked out the victory. A three-year member of Canada’s World Cup squad, the Calgarian was trailing Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont. by 15-hundredths after his first trip down the 14-corner Olympic track.
“It was so close today. I was .01 behind heading into the final corner and ended up taking the lead,” added Martineau, who was sitting in fourth spot overall in selection points at the midway point of the four-race evaluation series. “It was a really tight race, and has been all along, so it was really important for me to win today and set myself above the rest.”
Greszczyszyn finished second at 1:52.90. Saskatoon’s Evann Neufeldt took advantage of a strong 4.99 start time in his second heat to propel him to a nearly perfect run and the final spot of the men’s podium with a time of 1:53.13.
It was also a second-career Canadian Championship title for Calgary’s Elisabeth Vathje in the women’s race.
Winning the first two evaluation races last weekend at the Whistler Sliding Centre, Vathje continued to lead the pack after clocking a winning time of 1:54.98.
“It is crazy. It was a really close race today with Mimi only nine-hundredths behind me. It shows the depth of our team and I’m happy with the result,” said Vathje.
“I just try to bring my ‘A’ game every day, knowing I need it to battle to be on top with these girls.”
A three-time World Cup winner with her first career victory coming in Calgary, Vathje needed to be in top form to capture the national crown on Saturday.
Ottawa’s Rahneva was deadlocked with Vathje after the opening run, while North Vancouver’s Jane Channell was explosive off the start block, posting the fastest start times in both heats.
When the dust finally settled, it was Rahneva finishing second at 1:55.11. Channell was forced to settle for the bronze medal after punching the clock at 1:55.47.
“Racing alongside these girls is like having the best training partners you can imagine. You know everyday nothing is given to you,” said Vathje, who also has three World Cup silver medals and a World Championship bronze on her mantle. “The depth of our team makes us push harder and learn from each other everyday, which makes us all better athletes.”
The top skeleton athletes in the country will be back on the start line Sunday for the final evaluation race. The World Cup team will be named publicly on November 1.