In his second FIL Viessmann World Cup race ever, Reid Watts found himself ahead of some more seasoned competitors.
Watts took an 18th-place finish out of 32 starters at the second race of the season in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Dec 2.
The 17-year-old placed just three spots behind veteran Sam Edney, the top Canadian, and ahead of Mitchel Malyk, the third Canadian, who placed 26th. John Fennell, a former Team Canada luger who now represents his birth nation, the United States, was 27th.
Watts said he was happy to perform well on an unfamiliar track, especially in advance of the tour coming to Whistler this weekend.
"Just knowing with the two solid runs I could be up in that mix, it's a good confidence booster coming into the season and especially into my home race here," he said. "I was really happy with that result. We went there for a good week of training before we started the competition season. It was good to have a lot of run volume on a new track."
Watts almost didn't make it to the big stage, as he nearly ruined his time with a couple bashes against the wall late in the qualifying race.
"In the qualifier at the Nations Cup, I had a pretty big mistake and I almost didn't make the World Cup," he said. "I was training really well up until that run where I was mostly thinking on my result instead of the run, so with that little mistake in the qualifier, it really made me think back to the basics more, which I think was a good thing. It gave me those two runs that were as good as they were."
The 2014-15 youth 'A' world doubles champion trained with the Canadians in the season-opening race in Winterberg, Germany the previous weekend, but he had a tough run in the qualifiers and was just one spot out of making it into the World Cup race.
Watts recovered in America, and his strong showing was part of a great weekend for Canada, as the program brought home three medals from New York on Dec. 3.
The team relay squad scored a gold medal, while in the women's race, Kim McRae nabbed silver and Alex Gough took bronze.
McRae was a double medallist, as she was on the relay team with Edney and the doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith.
"I am super pumped for the team. I put down the first run and just watched Sam and the doubles come behind me, and we held on for the gold," McRae said in a release.
Watts, meanwhile, was thrilled to be there and take it all in.
"It was really exciting to be there. I'm really proud to be a part of that team," he said.
The Canadians will look to stay rolling in Whistler on Saturday, Dec. 10. Action will begin with the women at 9 a.m., while the doubles race will run at 11:40 a.m. The track will welcome the men at 3 p.m. and the team relay at 6:40 p.m. Admission is $10 per person.