Britcher rallies in final run to win USA Luge national title

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) Summer Britcher rallied Saturday to win her first USA Luge national championship, holding off Emily Sweeney at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Britcher trailed Sweeney going into the fourth and final run of the event, then threw down her fastest time of the weekend to clinch the title. Britcher's combined four-run time was 2 minutes, 57.960 seconds, about two-tenths of a second ahead of Sweeney's time of 2:58.163.

Olympic bronze medalist and 2009 world champion Erin Hamlin was third in 2:58.601.

''It feels pretty good to finally take home the title,'' Britcher said. ''It's been pretty elusive, so it's a good feeling and it's a good way to start the season.''

Britcher had the lead after Friday's first two runs, but trailed Sweeney by a tiny margin going into Saturday morning's fourth and final heat. Britcher's fourth-run time was 44.230 seconds, while Sweeney - still hampered by a wrist problem that's limiting her at the start - completed her final run in 44.452 seconds.

Sweeney was the defending national champion, with Britcher second in 2015.

Tucker West easily won his second men's national title, posting the top time in all four runs of that event. He finished in 3:27.394, beating runner-up Taylor Morris by 1.223 seconds. Jonny Gustafson was third, 1.242 seconds back.

West said he still has some more things to refine in the coming weeks before the World Cup season starts.

''Hopefully, come four weeks from now, we'll be ready to take it to the world,'' West said.

Matthew Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman took the doubles national title, their two-run time of 1:29.081 good enough to beat Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk (1:29.441) and Jake Hyrns and Anthony Espinoza (1:30.880).

The format for nationals mirrored the Olympic program, with singles competitors having four runs over two days and doubles teams facing off in a one-day, two-run event.

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