A changing of the guard is unfolding on the nation’s luge tracks as Luge Canada crowned a new crop of Canadian champions on Saturday in Whistler, B.C.
Alberta teen, Colton Clarke, knocked off Olympian Reid Watts to secure his first national men’s singles crown. The 16-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. clocked a two-run time of 1:41.758.
“It feels amazing. I didn’t expect much coming into the race. The plan was to just put down two clean solid runs, and see how it goes,” said Clarke, who posted the fastest first run-down time at 50.970. “I was super excited after the first run. I said to myself ‘I can do this.’ I just focused on relaxing and having a good second run and letting the sled fly. It really is amazing.”
Reid Watts posted the two fastest start times and quickest second run on the 2010 Olympic Track he grew up on at the Whistler Sliding Centre, but the 19 year old came up short in his bid for gold. Watts, who finished 12th in his Olymic debut in 2018, settled for second on Saturday with a time of 1:41.902.
Matt Riddle, of Whistler, B.C. finished third at 1:43.632.
Calgary’s Kyla Graham took advantage of a lightening quick first-run time of 39.357 down the 10-corner track to hang onto her first Canadian Luge Championship win in women’s singles. The 20-year-old Graham stopped the clock at 1:18.357.
Calgary’s Carolyn Maxwell, who was fourth after her first blast down the Whistler Sliding bounced back to clock the fastest second-run time and claim the silver medal with a time of 1:18.600.
Olympian Brooke Apshkrum, also of Calgary, grabbed the final spot on the women’s singles podium with a time of 1:18.622.
Olympic silver medallists, and Canada’s top doubles squad, of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith are anxious to start are a new journey to Beijing 2022. The Calgary-based duo won their ninth-straight Canadian Championship crown with a two-run time of 1:17.765.
“We are really happy with our runs today. We’d always like to have a little more competition in Canada, but it was nice to get back into the feeling of racing and be able to put down a couple of solid runs,” said Walker.
The World Cup season officially kicks off, November 24, in Igls, Austria.