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Uhlaender places 6th in final worlds race

ALTENBERG, Germany — Americaan Katie Uhlaenderheld back tears at the finish, disappointed that she fell back into sixth place in the women’s skeleton World Championship finale on Friday, Feb. 12.

In the same race, Kendall Wesenberg of Modesto, California finished 19th, and Sara Roderick, of Truro, Massachusetts, was 24th in her World Championship debut.

“I really wanted a top four,” Uhlaender said. “It was the little things. I was a little loose today, but I gave it my all.”

A top four finish in World Championships would have secured a spot on the 2021-2022 national team for Uhlaender, who hails from

Breckenridge, Colorado. She was in fourth place until the fourth and final run.

“I’m so disappointed,” Uhlaender said. “I wish I could have solidified that spot.”

Uhlaender’s first career World Championships were in 2005, when she finished seventh in Calgary, Canada. Sixteen years later, Uhlaender said that this year will be her last career World Championship appearance.

“I’m happy to be here,” Uhlaender said. “I didn’t expect to come back this season and to be where I am right now.”

Uhlaender nearly matched her start times from the first two runs the day before with pushes of 5.66 and 5.63 seconds in heats 3 and 4. She maintained fourth position with a downtime of 58.60 seconds in the third heat. 

The battle for the medals was down to the hundredth in the fourth and final run. Uhlaender threw down a downtime of 58.83 seconds, but Germany’s Sophia Greibel and Russian Alina Tararychenkova turned it up in the finale. Greibel and Tararychenkova moved ahead of Uhlaender, tying for fourth place. As a result, Uhlaender finished sixth with a four-run combined time of 3:54.88.

“I’m holding back tears,” Uhlaender said. “I had it, it was so close.”

Team Germany secured the gold and silver medals. Tina Hermann moved up from third to win the title with a total time of 3:52.97. Jacquelline Loelling claimed silver in 3:53.08, followed by Russian Elena Nikitina in third with an aggregate time of 3:54.65.

Wesenberg posted identical start times of 5.89 seconds in both of Friday’s runs. She navigated to the finish in 59.07 seconds and 59.46 seconds, and lost some time against the competition on day two. The 2018 Olympian finished 19th with a four-run combined time of  3:57.88. 

Florian 15th in

men’s skeleton

Austin Florian was the top American finisher in the men’s skeleton World Championship race, finishing 15th during a four-heat competition that also took place Feb. 11-12.

The slider from Southington, Connecticut finished with a 3:50.67 combined time, which was 4.36 seconds behind the winner, Germany’s Christopher Grotheer.

Russian Alexander Tretiakov took the silver in 3:46.59, and Alexander Gassner of Germany rounded out the podium in third with a 3:47.51 total.