Graybill places eighth in women’s skeleton World Championships

By on March 13, 2019

Cocalico High School graduate Savannah Graybill of Denver posted the top American finish of eighth place in the women’s skeleton World Championships in Whistler, British Columbia Friday, bettering her best finish of the season by three spots. Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) maintained 11th place, and Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) wrapped up her World Championships in 18th.

“It’s been a crazy season,” Graybill said. “There has been so much improvement, and a lot of ups and downs. Taking all of that into account, I’m happy that I was able to come into worlds and put together two solid runs and have a personal best time. I can’t ask for much more.”

Caleb Smith joined the team as the USA Skeleton Technical and Development Lead Coach this season and has given the athletes a new approach to sliding. That often meant leaving behind habits and lines the athletes have learned over their careers, which sometimes felt like taking a step backwards. Graybill said the new perspective has made her a better slider.

“It’s hard to go backwards before you can move forwards,” Graybill said. “You want everything to be a forward progression, but you have to take the bumps and bruises first. They will heal and you’ll come out stronger for it. I’m happy to end the season feeling stronger than when I started.”

Graybill was tied with Russian Yulia Kanakina for seventh place entering today’s final heats. The American put together a first run start time of 5.06 for only the 11th best downtime of 53.85 seconds, which allowed Kanakina to move ahead. Graybill responded with a start time of 5.04 seconds in the final run and raced to the finish in 53.69 seconds for the fastest time of her four heats and the seventh best of the field. Graybill accumulated a total time of 3:35.63 for eighth place.

Graybill’s best World Cup finish of the season was 12th on home ice in Lake Placid, N.Y. last month, making today’s eighth place in World Championships her best result of 2018-2019.

Team Germany swept the women’s medals. Tina Hermann was victorious by 0.38 seconds with a combined time of 3:33.03. Jacqueline Loelling threatened to take the lead with a track record run of 53.10 seconds in the final heat, but she ultimately finished second to her teammate with a total time of 3:33.41. Sophia Griebel completed Germany’s sweep with an aggregate time of 3:34.20.

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