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National skeleton champs crowned in Whistler

Hawrysh, Thompson tie for women’s title; Greszczyszyn wins men’s race
DOUBLE GOLD: Cassie Hawrysh, left, and Robynne Thompson each wear the women's gold medal around their necks after tying for top spot in the Canadian Skeleton Championships at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Sunday, Oct. 27. Photo by Eric MacKenzie

There weren't enough gold medals to hand out at the Whistler Sliding Centre when it hosted the Canadian Skeleton Championships.

That's because Cassie Hawrysh and Robynne Thompson finished with identical two-run times of one minute, 49.62 seconds on Sunday, Oct. 27 to be declared co-winners of the women's national title.

Meanwhile, Dave Greszczyszyn slid his way to the men's title, coming from behind on the second run to become the Canadian champ in 1:47.24.

Thompson was also celebrating her 22nd birthday on Sunday. The crowd gathered at the finish dock for the awards presentation sang "Happy Birthday," as she and Hawrysh donned a gold medal that was quickly modified so that both could have it around their necks.

"It feels awesome. It's a pretty good birthday present," said Thompson. "I don't mind sharing it with Cassie."

Thompson led Hawrysh by 0.16 seconds after the first run, but Hawrysh had the quickest women's run of the day to help move her up into the tie for first.

"After that first run I joked with her and said, 'That was your birthday present, but you only get one run,'" laughed Hawrysh, 29. "This is a sport where that rarely happens and she's been working really hard ... so I'm super proud of her and obviously I'm super excited for myself."

Jaclyn LaBerge finished third, 0.47 seconds behind, while Lanette Prediger placed fourth and Mellisa Hollingsworth finished fifth. World Cup team veteran Sarah Reid did not participate in Sunday's race.

Similar to the women's race, Greszczyszyn trailed first-run leader John Fairbairn by less than two-tenths after one run, but had the fastest men's time of the day in the final heat to clock in with a combined time of 1:47:24. Fairbairn slipped to second spot and Eric Neilson finished in third place.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Greszczyszyn said of being the national champ.

"(Fairbairn) was pushing lights out, so I knew I needed a good run. Run 1 was pretty good - I had a couple of spots to clean up, but I cleaned those up for Run 2, just let 'er go, hoped for the best and it was the good run that I needed there."

Patrick Rooney finished fourth on Sunday while 2010 Olympic champ Jon Montgomery placed fifth in his last-ever race in Whistler.

See Pique on Thursday, Oct. 31 for more skeleton coverage.

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