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Kerstin Joensson, Associated Press
Germany's second placed Marion Thees, left, winner Noelle Pikus-Pace from the United Statesand Germany's third placed Anja Huber celebrate on the podium after the women's Skeleton World Cup race in Koenigssee, Germany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

KOENIGSSEE, Germany — Noelle Pikus-Pace, a 2005 graduate of Utah Valley University, won the gold medal in the skeleton Friday to pick up her first World Cup victory since 2004.

Pike-Pace, who returned to the sport after retiring in 2010, traversed the course in 1 minute, 47.51 seconds, which was 0.41 seconds better than Marion Thees, the overall World Cup leader.

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Pikus-Pace, the American and World Cup champion, finished just out of the medals at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics by placing fourth.

She was one of the favorites to win a medal in Turin before a freak accident with a runaway bobsled broke one of her legs.

In 2003 at Utah Valley, Pikus-Pace won the national championship in the discus and was a first-team All-American. She also set the school high jump record in 2004 and in 2005 was named to the NCAA Division I All-Independent Team. She graduated from UVU with a degree in community health.

She was inducted into the UVU Hall of Fame on Jan. 28, 2012.

Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.