Canada’s Trinity Ellis shattered her career-best result with an impressive eighth-place finish at the Luge World Cup opener in Igls, Austria on Saturday morning.
Competing in just her third World Cup race, the 17-year-old from Pemberton, B.C. rocketed to her first top-10 finish with a two-run combined time of 1:21.594.
“It is super exciting to get my first top-10. I’m a bit in shock. I wasn’t expecting to be there, but was able to lay back, relax and put down a really good second run and move up,” said Ellis, whose goal heading into the race was to crack the top-15.
“I had been comfortable in training all week, but it is really nice to see that I can be there. It is motivating for the next two races, especially since we are heading back to North America.”
The talented teen, who was brought up to the elite squad after Christmas one year ago following injuries to senior team members, was in 16th place after her first rip down the relatively flat 10-corner track. Ellis clocked the fifth-fastest time in a nearly flawless second run, and leapfrogged up the leaderboard into eighth.
“The youth is taking over,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “We have a really long way to go. Trinity is only 17, but she is showing strong signs of being a good one in this sport. There will be lots of good and bad results which is normal, but she knows she can do it, and for her age, today is a very impressive result.”
Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova won the season-opener with a time of 1:21.304. Summer Britcher, of the United States, was second at 1:21.414 while Germany’s Jessica Tiebel claimed the bronze with a time of 1:21.468.
Posting quick start times in both heats, Calgary’s Carolyn Maxwell was in seventh after her first trip down the track but dropped to 25th after a big skid into the final corner, finishing with a time of 1:22.527.
Canada’s doubles tandem of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were not able to take advantage of putting down the two fastest doubles start times en route to a ninth-place finish with a time of 1:21.077.
Competing in their 11th season together, the Olympic medallists were in seventh place after the first heat but dropped two spots in the final run after a mistake in the bottom portion of the track.
“The boys know they can be quick and showed that today leading until the mid-section of the track where they made a mistake. That quickly compounds and before you know it you are in ninth,” said Staudinger. “They are fast at the start and need to be consistent the whole way down the track and they will be in the medals.”
Germany’ Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken snagged the gold medal with a time of 1:20.732. Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, also of Germany, were second at 1:20.741. Austria’s Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller won the bronze in the doubles race with a time of 1:20.820.
The men’s singles race is slated for Sunday in Austria.