Jane Channell led the Canadian skeleton squad at the first race of 2018 with a sixth-place finish at a World Cup in Altenberg, Germany on Friday.
Matching her second-best finish of the season for the third time, the 29-year-old Channell clocked a sixth-place two-run time of 1:59.07.
“Today went really well for me. I was able to put everything I learned in training into two decent runs today. I feel like one can never have enough runs here in Altenberg. There is always something to learn and take away from this technical track,” said Channell.
Battling a 1,413-metre beast on ice in Altenberg, Channell posted the second-fastest start times in both heats. Her best finish this year, and lone medal of the season, came in December when she was second on another challenging track in Whistler.
“I like Altenberg, it has always been one of my favourites, but I always say I would love more time here to figure it out more. It is such a technical track here that the rust (from the break) was shaken off by corner 4,” said Channell.
“My results on these technical tracks comes from having great coaching that is paying off for the whole team. We have more cameras down the track and are getting help from some of the best coaches out there. I also think experiencing what it’s like to have to fight back from first runs has really helped me to perform this year.”
The Germans swept the women’s podium. Jacqueline Loelling slid to her third victory of the season with a time of 1:57.74. Tina Hermann was second at 1:57.87, while Anna Fernstaedt clocked-in at 1:58.17 for the bronze medal.
Five out of Canada’s six athletes slid into the top-15 in men’s and women’s skeleton action on Friday.
Calgary’s Elisabeth Vathje sits second overall on the World Cup following a ninth-place finish in Altenberg where she posted a time of 1:59.13. Ottawa’s Mirela Rahneva did not qualify for the final run with the top-20, placing 22nd.
Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., led all three Canadian men into the top-15. The Grizz, who captured his first career bronze medal prior to the holiday break, locked up 10th spot with a time of 1:56.26. After clocking a 16th-place time in his opening decent, Calgary’s Barrett Martineau climbed into 11th place after rocketing to the sixth-fastest second run time. Kevin Boyer, of Sherwood Park, Alta., snagged the final spot in the top-15, posting a time of 1:56.94.
“As a whole, this was a really good day for Canada,” said Channell. “I think I can speak for the team, that we are all focusing on each race week by week with, of course, the end goal of qualifying three sleds on both the men’s and women’s sides for Canada at the Olympics. We are now excited to go and slide in St. Moritz (next stop on World Cup) – the only natural track in the world – but we will still be treating this race as any other race we have had this season.”
Korea’s Sungbin Yun won the men’s race with a time of 1:54.28. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov was second at 1:54.67, while Germany’s Christopher Grotheer slid to third place with a time of 1:55.04.
The BMW IBSF World Cup continues on Saturday with the men’s two-man and women’s bobsleigh races.