Britcher, West lead USA Luge's national championships

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) Summer Britcher and Tucker West are the midpoint leaders at the USA Luge National Championships.

Britcher has a slim lead over Emily Sweeney and Erin Hamlin after Friday's first two runs in the four-run event, while West is more than a half-second ahead of reigning junior national champion Jonny Gustafson and Taylor Morris in the men's championship.

The final two runs in each competition will be held Saturday morning.

Britcher is seeking her first national title, after finishing second behind Sweeney last season. West is in position for his second national title.

''I feel pretty good about the runs I had,'' Britcher said. ''I had some minor mistakes in both runs, but in a way, this is still race training for the World Cup later in the season and so I feel pretty good.''

Britcher's two-run time at Mount Van Hoevenberg was 1 minute, 29.029 seconds. Sweeney, who is recovering from offseason wrist surgery and is slowed at the start because of that, finished two runs in 1:29.157. Hamlin, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist, clocked a combined 1:29.546.

West's time of 1:43.832 gives him a comfortable cushion over Gustafson (1:44.370) and Morris (1:44.598). West said the ice conditions Friday were pristine, which helped greatly.

''The track crew did a great job out here,'' West said.

Two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer is not in the competition. He's one of the sliders invited to Pyeongchang, South Korea, this week to test the new track built there for the 2018 Olympics.