With all the attention Olympic track stars
That didn't bother the former Western Michigan volleyball player from Palos Hills, who had won a World Championship bronze medal in 2012, her rookie season as a sled pusher.
As the coaches tried different pairings throughout the
And then Eberling, 24, wound up one step higher on the podium than she had been a year ago.
"I like this trend," Eberling said via telephone Saturday from St. Moritz, the historic home of the sport.
A few hours earlier, Meyers and Eberling had put down a record-breaking start in a fourth and final run that carried them from third to second in the final standings by .02 seconds.
"I knew they would get more attention," Eberling said, referring to Jones and Madison. "For me, it was just about putting my head down and pushing through. They really challenged me to be my best.
"It was definitely a challenging season. We had a ton of talent on this team. Having confidence in myself was the most important thing."
The back-to-back world medals turn Meyers and Eberling into medal favorites for next year's
"It was awesome winning a medal last year," Eberling said. "At the same time, that was on our home track (Lake Placid, N.Y.). To accomplish a better result on international ice is even more gratifying."
Meyers, 28, of Douglasville, Ga., now has won medals in four of the last five global championships - two as a sled pusher (including the 2010 Olympics), two as a driver. The only season she missed the podium was her transition year from the back to the front of the sled.
"Before the final run, I told my teammates I would be crying at the finish either way, whether I won a medal or not," Meyers said.
Meyers had more reason for an emotional outburst when men's sled pusher Nic Taylor proposed after the awards ceremony (she accepted with a big smile).
Reigning Olympic champion driver Kaillie Humphries of Canada made it back-to-back world titles with pusher Chelsea Valois. They finished first in two runs and second in the other two for an impressive winning margin of .68 seconds.
The gap between Meyers-Eberling and the seventh-place sled was only .17 seconds.
Germans Sandra Kiriasis and Franziska Bertels were third.
The second U.S. sled, with driver Jazmine Fenlator and rookie pusher Aja Evans of Chicago, was eighth, 2.34 seconds back.
Jones, who had won a silver medal in her World Cup debut two months ago, did not earn a spot in one of the three U.S. sleds in the two-woman race at the world meet but is scheduled to push for Meyers in the team event. Madison, Olympic gold medalist in the sprint relay, won bronze in her first World Cup race but returned to track and field training a few weeks ago. She is expected to try again in the Olympic season.
The U.S. sledders will go to Sochi in 10 days for a week of training prior to the World Cup race Feb. 15. That is the test event for the Olympic track.