U.S. Short Track Skaters take Mixed Relay Gold at Dresden World Cup
by Paul D. Bowker
U.S. Short Track skaters won the Mixed Relay while reaching the podium four times at the World Cup’s penultimate stop this past weekend in Dresden, Germany.
Kristen Santos-Griswold, a 2022 Olympian, played a role in three of those medals and now ranks second in the chase for the Women’s Overall Title entering next week’s World Cup finale in Gdansk, Poland.
The Mixed Relay team of Santos-Griswold, Corinne Stoddard, Andrew Heo and Marcus Howard set a new National Record time and captured a Gold medal for the first time this season, while Santos-Griswold and Stoddard joined with Eunice Lee and Julie Letai to finish third in the Women’s 3000m Relay.
Santos-Griswold also claimed an individual medal, finishing second in the Women’s 1500m, while Stoddard took third in the Women’s 1000m.
In total, Santos-Griswold has won nine individual medals and six relay medals in five World Cup stops this season. With 980 points, she trails South Korea’s Kim Gilli by 135 points in the Overall standings.
In the 1500m, Santos-Griswold finished second to Hanne Desmet of Belgium, clocking a time of 2:20.397. Santos-Griswold won the 1500m earlier this season in the Four Continents Championships but fell just .051 seconds short of capturing her first World Cup win at the distance.
“My goal is always to go out there and win, so I am a little disappointed about that,” Santos-Griswold said. “But Hanne skated amazingly, so I can’t be too sad about it.”
“It was a really hard field out there, so my goal was to stay in the front and not get stuck in any things going on in the back,” she added. “Ultimately Hanne and I are so similar in our skating, that definitely makes it hard at the end.”
Santos-Griswold was leading the second 1000m final of the weekend when she fell following a skate collision with Desmet. Santos-Griswold, who is the season leader at 1000m, finished fourth and Stoddard claimed a Bronze medal by finishing third behind Kim and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.
The U.S. Mixed Relay squad medaled for the third straight World Cup, winning the 2000m race after capturing Bronze medals in the previous two World Cup stops. Santos-Griswold, Stoddard, Heo and Howard won in a time of 2:36.586. Heo grabbed the lead in the final lap against the Netherlands, the season leader.
“It was really exciting,” Santos-Griswold said. “We work really hard on our relays, so having it come together was really nice. Ultimately I feel like it was something I knew we could always do. We just needed to get out there and figure it out and today we did.”
Santos-Griswold, Stoddard, Lee and Letai finished in 4:09.740 to claim the third U.S. podium finish of the year in the Women’s 3000m Relay. They finished behind the Netherlands and Canada but defeated South Korea by more than four seconds for the medal.
Heo nearly earned a fifth medal for the U.S., finishing fourth in the Men’s 1500m with a time of 2:11.839 and missing the podium by just .054 seconds. It was his highest individual finish in World Cup competition.
Wesley Park made the B Final in the Men’s 1000m, finishing ninth Overall, and Howard made the B Final in the Men’s 500m, finishing ninth Overall. Heo, Howard, Park and Daniel Yoon combined for a fourth-place finish in the 5000m Relay.
The World Cup concludes in Gdansk, Poland, Feb. 16-18.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to USSpeedskating.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.