Arndt takes 7th at Junior Worlds
ALTENBERG, Germany — Saving her best result for the final luge event of the international season, Brittney Arndt of Park City, Utah placed seventh at the Junior World Championships Friday in Altenberg, Germany. She finished 0.2 of a second from the podium.
“When I heard that junior worlds would be here in Altenberg, I was very excited with this being one of my favorite tracks,” stated Arndt. “This season was pretty tough for me after last year with regular top 10 finishes, and my fourth place overall standing. Finishing 15th this year, with great runs in all our Junior World Cups but slower times, was disappointing, but I am very happy to end my season on this note.”
The performance bettered Arndt’s 2017 junior world effort by one spot in a stellar field that displayed the future of the sport.
“We had an extra week of training here at the beginning of the season, and the International Training Week last week gave me plenty of time to work the kinks out,” Arndt said. “My runs today were great. I am very happy with my fast starts and nearly flawless runs. The conditions were great, and we couldn’t have asked for better ice.”
Junior National Team Head Coach Fred Zimny, understanding the difficulties of this course, especially for inexperienced youth and juniors, was nonetheless happy with Arndt’s showing.
“We trained with the Russians all week and Brittney was right in there with them,” Zimny said. “She’s so consistent and pressure doesn’t seem to affect her. We knew her two runs would be quick, but to touch the Germans in Altenberg would be tough.
“It was a pleasure to work with her during the week. We were able to work on the little things.”
German winner Jessica Tiebel captured her second straight junior world title after scoring her first World Cup medal just a few weeks ago.
Arndt, the top U.S. junior, who transplanted to Utah from the Midwest, opened the season with the national team as part of the group of 15 which produced 10 Olympians for this month’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Arndt was eliminated from Olympic consideration in the fall and returned to the U.S. Junior National Team, where she joined her teammates for training camps and the Junior World Cup tour. Her previous best result of the campaign was eighth on the iconic track in Koenigssee, Germany.
Tiebel recorded the two fastest runs of the event, totaling 1 minute, 23.951 seconds for an easy victory over Russian Tatiana Tcvetova by over 0.42 of a second. The world junior championship bronze medal went to Tiebel’s teammate Jessica Degenhardt, who was right behind Tcvetova in 1:24.385. Arndt clocked 1:24.590.
Arndt’s fellow Parkite Ashley Farquharson finished 20th; Katherine Bishop of Carlisle, Mass., in her first junior worlds, was 28th; and Grace Weinberg of Pittsfield, Vermont, placed 41st.
In the earlier junior men’s world championship, Ian Smith, a Carlisle, Massachusetts resident who was entered in his first junior worlds, was 22nd; Sean Hollander of Lake Placid took 24th; Zachary DiGregorio from Medway, Massachusetts wound up 25th; while Sam Eckert, of Jay, did not compete as the result of a strained neck.
The gold medal was captured by Germany’s Max Langenhan, who topped a perfect season after sweeping all six Junior World Cup meets. He won by more than 0.5 of a second in leading his team to a 1-2-3-4 effort.