Kaillie Humphries is headed into the final day of the major international sliding season with a chance at another world championship.
Humphries is in second place midway through the inaugural women’s monobob world championship race, trailing Germany’s Stephanie Schneider by 0.04 seconds after Saturday’s first two runs in Altenberg, Germany.
The final two runs are Sunday.
“We’ve only had so many runs on this track, and we didn’t get our monobob sleds until January,” Humphries said. “We’re still learning, and on one of the most technically challenging tracks in the world.”
Toronto's Cynthia Appiah was the top Canadian in sixth place. Melissa Lotholz, a native of Barrhead, Alta., was eighth and Christine De Bruin, a native of Stony Plain, Alta., was 16th.
Humphries won her record fourth women’s bobsled championship last weekend, teaming with Lolo Jones for that title. Monobob, as the name suggests, is run with just a driver in the sled and is a relatively new discipline that will be in the Olympics for the first time next year. Humphries competed in two monobob races this season, winning both.
Schneider had the second-fastest time in both runs, posting a combined time of 2 minutes, 0.52 seconds. Humphries’ time was 2:00.56 and Germany’s Laura Nolte — the first-run leader — was third in 2:00.70.
Humphries, who began racing for the U.S. two years ago after getting her release from her native Canada’s national team, is the only non-German in the top five at the midway mark. Mariama Jamanka is fourth in 2:01.01 and Kim Kalicki fifth in 2:01.08.
“To be amongst the Germans is a good place to be,” Humphries said.
Elana Meyers Taylor, the other American in the women’s monobob field at worlds, crashed in her first run Saturday and is well out of medal contention. She’s 19th through two runs.
The U.S. has won 17 medals in major international sliding races this season — all by women. Nicole Vogt won four golds and a silver in monobob races at Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York, fields that had some veteran drivers but without the top pilots from the World Cup circuit this season since they were all in Europe.
Humphries, a Calgary native, has four medals, all of them gold, including the world-title win. Jones won two golds, one in a World Cup race with Humphries and the other in the world championships last weekend.
Meyers Taylor medaled five times, four silvers and a bronze. Sylvia Hoffman was a two-time
And now Humphries has a chance to end this most unusual season — where U.S. teams skipped the first half because of concerns about the pandemic and international travel — with one more win. There are team trials races for next season coming up before winter ends in the U.S., but Sunday marks the end of the major international racing slate for the Americans.
“After all of my years of experience, I know that it’s not over until it’s over,” Humphries said. “Anything can happen. A lot can be won or lost in one run, and there’s still a lot of racing to do.”
Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press