Loelling leads skeleton title race, Uhlaender contending

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ALTENBERG, Germany (AP) — Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling is in position to reclaim her world women’s skeleton championship, and Katie Uhlaender of the U.S. is within striking distance of what would be her first medal at the worlds in nine years.

Loelling finished her two runs Thursday in 1 minute, 56.74 seconds. She leads Russian slider Elena Nikitina by 0.11 seconds, with Germany’s Tina Hermann third and 0.24 seconds back. Hermann has won three of the last four world titles; Loelling won the worlds in 2017.

Uhlaender is next, 0.71 seconds back in fourth place. Uhlaender is a three-time medalist at worlds, finishing third in 2007, second in 2008 and winning the title at Lake Placid in 2012.

Also for the U.S. women, Kendall Wesenberg was 16th at the event’s midway point and Sara Roderick enters Friday in 24th place in her world championship debut.

In the men’s race, Russia's Alexander Tretiakov is the leader after two runs, finishing Thursday in 1:53.30. Germany has sliders in second and third; Felix Keisinger is 0.04 off the lead, Christopher Grotheer is 0.06 back.

Tretiakov is seeking his second world title, after winning in 2013. Six-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia struggled, finishing the day 14th and well out of medal contention — nearly 2 seconds off the lead.

Austin Florian is the top American in the men’s race, holding 10th place at the midway mark. Austin McCrary is 28th.

The final two heats of the women’s and men’s races are Friday.