LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Former world champion Noelle Pikus-Pace is well on her way back to the U.S. national skeleton team.

Pikus-Pace was an easy winner in the first of four team selection races Tuesday, her first official competition since retiring after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Pikus-Pace had a two-run time of 1 minute, 54.35 seconds — a whopping 1.37 seconds ahead of runner-up Kimber Gabryszak (1:55.72) and nearly 2 full seconds better than third-place Meghan Sullivan (1:56.31).

In the first men's selection race, John Daly also posted a convincing win. He finished two runs in 1:51.98, which was 1.11 seconds better than Kyle Tress (1:53.09). Ryan Sweeney (1:53.64) was third.

Reigning world champion Katie Uhlaender and Matt Antoine are already on the national team, leaving one women's and two men's spots on the World Cup squad undecided.

Pikus-Pace — who was fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games — will not have that other women's World Cup spot to start the season, since she needs to compete in five competitions over three tracks to satisfy international regulations after her retirement. Assuming she's selected to the national team, which now figures to be virtually certain, she's planning to compete in America's Cup to start the season and has eyes on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"It feels so good to be back. I really love sliding," said Pikus-Pace, who was the Olympic favorite in 2006 before her leg was shattered when she was struck by an out-of-control bobsled. "I love Lake Placid, the track crew is awesome, and it makes all the difference in the world to have my family here with me."

Pikus-Pace would have finished eighth in the men's event if she competed in that 18-person competition, where Daly was dominant.

"It feels good. I like winning," Daly said. "It was a nice opening day of racing and there were some surprises in the results. Everyone slid really well and I'm happy I was able to win when the USA program is this strong. I'm excited for the season."

It's a hectic week in Lake Placid, where an expected warmup toward the weekend has prompted some schedule changes. Skeleton's second event in the four-race trials is scheduled for Wednesday morning, and men's and women's bobsled trials continue Wednesday night. The national bobsled team for the coming season will now likely be announced Thursday, and Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones is a candidate for a spot as a women's push athlete.

Much like in bobsled, the depth of the U.S. skeleton program seems to have vastly improved in the past year.

"The door is wide open for a lot of these athletes," said U.S. skeleton coach Tuffy Latour. "I'm expecting three more great races. We have 36 athletes out here vying for a spot, and it's one of the most competitive fields we've had."

On Friday and Saturday, USA Luge holds its national championships on the track in Lake Placid as well, before its national team departs for training on Sunday at the Olympic track in Sochi.

USA Luge spokesman Sandy Caligiore said that expected wet and warm conditions should not interfere with the weekend schedule, since the track is mostly covered at this point to protect it from sunshine. Forecasters say temperatures in Lake Placid may reach the mid-60s on Friday, which would be more than 10 degrees above normal.