Humphries, Lotholz cap quality day 

Gold in women's bobsleigh part of four-medal Friday

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Melissa Lotholz and Kaillie Humphries celebrate their win in women's bobsleigh at Whistler Sliding Centre on Nov. 24.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Melissa Lotholz and Kaillie Humphries celebrate their win in women's bobsleigh at Whistler Sliding Centre on Nov. 24.

Kaillie Humphries pulling out a win in Whistler has become almost a given.

The 32-year-old won her fifth consecutive BMW IBSF World Cup race at the local track and hasn't won anything but gold here since the stop here in November 2010.

Humphries and brakewoman Melissa Lotholz easily put down the best time in both heats en route to besting a pair of American squads, Jamie Gruebel Poser and Aja Evans (by 0.48 seconds) and Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones (by 0.83 seconds).

Humphries, who won Olympic gold here in Whistler in 2010 and defended her title in Russia in 2014, knows the track better than anyone and that was clear on Friday.

As she prepares to be the first pilot to earn three medals in a row in PyeongChang, South Korea this February, she and Lotholz are looking to perfect their runs. Whistler provided the perfect opportunity.

"For us, we were focused on the starts and the driving. I wanted to ensure that I drove the track the best way I knew how for the conditions that there were," she said. "It's just (adjusting) the steering and the handling for how the ice is. I wanted to make sure that each and every run was done to the best of my ability."

Being a race that earlier in the season than normal, sliders were dealing with slightly warmer conditions that provided a challenge, according to Gruebel Poser.

"I wanted to have a little better run today but we haven't really raced here under such warm conditions and soft ice. It was a little bit of a new experience for me but I gave my best and coming out second is great," the American pilot said.

Earlier Friday, Chris Spring and Neville Wright edged fellow Canadians Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz in the two-man bobsleigh to secure gold and silver while Jane Channell of North Vancouver took silver in the women's skeleton race.

Action at Whistler Sliding Centre continues Saturday with the men's skeleton at 10 a.m. and four-man bobsleigh at 2 p.m.

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