Goetz, Stoppelmoor Lead The Way As Long Track Season Kicks Off At Desert Classic
by Chrös McDougall
Kimi Goetz, coming off a breakthrough season, got off to a blazing start to 2023-24 when she recorded a pair of wins and added a second place finish over the weekend at the Long Track Desert Classic in Kearns, Utah.
Her performance was one of the highlights of the two-day event that drew dozens of athletes from around the country, as well as a few from abroad, to the Utah Olympic Oval. Zach Stoppelmoor shined on the men’s side, earning wins in all three events he raced.
A former inline skater who transitioned to short track and then long track, Goetz has been on a tear since making her Olympic debut in 2022 in Beijing. The native of Flemington, New Jersey, scored her first World Cup individual medal in late 2022, then added five more in 2022-23, including her first win. In addition, Goetz helped the U.S. earn three more World Cup medals in the Women’s Team Sprint last year, plus a Silver medal at the World Championships.
On Friday, the 29-year-old kicked off the season with a win in the Women’s 500m, then finished second in the Women’s 3000m. On Saturday she added another win, this time in the Women’s 1500m.
Goetz was the only woman to win multiple events at the Desert Classic, though up-and-comer Greta Myers, 19, won the 3000m on Friday with a personal best while finishing second in the 500m and 1500m on Saturday. She is coming off a memorable performance at last year’s World Junior Championships, where she won a Silver and two Bronze medals.
Sarah Warren also reached the podium three times in Utah, taking first in Saturday’s 500m, second in the 1000m and third in Friday’s 500m. Olympian Mia Kilburg Manganello was the other women’s event winner, edging past Warren in the 1000m. Other U.S. podium finishers in the women’s events this weekend included McKenzie Browne (second and third in the 500m races) and Olympian Giorgia Birkeland (third in the 3000m).
On the men’s side, Stoppelmoor led the way with wins in the 500m and 1000m on Friday, then again in the 500m on Saturday. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native, 24, raced a limited World Cup schedule last year, taking part in just one stop.
Kelin Dunfee was the other Team USA winner this weekend, taking the 3000m on Friday. Viktok Hald Thorup of Denmark won the other two men’s events, the 1500m and 5000m.
Meanwhile, three-time Olympian Emery Lehman, part of the U.S.’ esteemed team pursuit in recent years, took second in the 1000m and fourth in Friday’s 500m. Josh Whyte (second, 3000m) from New Zealand, William Silk (third, 3000m) and Tristan Boyd (third, 5000m) rounded out the U.S. men’s podium finishers.
Two other Americans found themselves in familiar spots in the standings throughout the weekend.
Tanner Worley ended up in second place three times: in the 1500m and both 500m races. William Gebauer, meanwhile, earned four third-place finishes. Those included both 500m races, as well as the 1000m and 1500m.
The long track skaters will be back in action Oct. 27-29 when the U.S. Championships are held in Milwaukee. The World Cup season begins Nov. 10-12 in Obihiro, Japan.
Chrös McDougall covers the Olympic and Paralympic Movement on behalf of