Uhlaender, Blaser win 2nd US skeleton trials races

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Katie Uhlaender and Andrew Blaser won their second consecutive USA Skeleton national team trials races Sunday, strengthening their bids to compete on the World Cup circuit this winter.

The four-race series continues next Saturday and Sunday at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Uhlaender and Blaser are the front-runners to grab two of the four spots on the World Cup team that are available in the team trials.

Reigning women's national champion Kendall Wesenberg and men's national champion Austin Florian already have World Cup spots clinched. The U.S. will have three men and three women on the World Cup roster.

Uhlaender's two-run time was 1 minute, 52.50 seconds — well ahead of second-place Savannah Graybill (1:53.06) and third-place Megan Henry (1:53.13). Uhlaender is a four-time Olympian who didn't compete last season and now seems likely to return to the World Cup circuit in her comeback year.

"Katie wouldn't be a four-time Olympian if she weren't good at what she does," USA Skeleton coach Tuffy Latour said. "She's always in the mix."

Blaser was dominant in the men's race, winning by more than a full second. He finished two runs in 1:49.60, with Alex Ivanov second in 1:50.80 and Stephen Garbett third in 1:50.88.

"If you'd asked me three years ago where Andrew would be today, I probably wouldn't have said on top of the podium," Latour said. "This wasn't his favorite track, but he's grown to love it, and he walked away with the race today."