Chrysta Rands-EvansWilliam SilkNews

New National Team Members Chrysta Rands-Evans, Will Silk Took Different Paths but Both are Enjoying the Ride

by Bob Reinert

Will Silk grew up on ice skates and joined the 2024-25 US Speedskating Long Track National Team right out of high school, while Chrysta Rands-Evans transitioned from inline skating in her 20s and took a long, painful journey to the team. Both are determined to enjoy their first National Team experience.

Rands-Evans, who made the switch from inline skating to speed skating in late 2017, reached the National Team at age 27 after overcoming injuries and illness in recent years.

“I was really excited,” said Rands-Evans, who is from Donora, Pennsylvania. “It’s definitely an accomplishment to be a part of the U.S. National Team.”

The last few years had been trying as she endured stress fractures, hip pain, surgery and autoimmune diseases. At the beginning of last season, Rands-Evans even considered ending her skating career if she didn’t show improvement. Instead, she decided to relax and enjoy racing.

The result was a healthy season in which she turned in personal bests at 500m, 1000m and 1500m and skated well at the final two World Cup events.

“I put less pressure on myself last season,” she said. “It was like, why am I here? I love to skate. No matter the results, I’m happy and grateful I just get to come to the starting line. And, honestly, it went so well.”

The challenge for Silk was moving away from home immediately after high school graduation and ramping up his training in a new environment.

“It’s been a different experience, for sure,” said the 18-year-old from Butte, Montana. “Training is a little bit different and a lot more training than I’m used to, but it’s been good. It’s been a better adjustment than I thought it would be.”

At home with his father, Dave Silk, a 1988 U.S. Olympic speed skater, Will Silk usually did about 15 hours of training a week. He now does as many as 25.

“A lot more volume than I’m used to,” he said. “I love training, but it’s definitely been the biggest change. The actual training itself hasn’t really changed.”

Before he left Butte, Silk got a bit of advice from his father about how to approach this new National Team experience.

“He told me that you’re on this team for a reason, just enjoy it,” Silk recalled. “He said skating’s just a journey, and it’s just another adventure to go on. And that helps a lot. He said you can always pull the plug if you don’t like it anymore, and I guess that was nice, too, because for a while it felt like I had to come down here.

“He just wants me to have my own experiences but do it the right way. If you’re not enjoying it, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”

Silk has been on skates since age 3, but he tried just about every sport in his youth. He still races bikes whenever he can. As a sophomore in high school, he got serious about speed skating.

“I kind of fell in love with it then,” he said.

Silk went on to capture the 2024 Junior National Allround Title.

“I wasn’t really favored to win the Junior Nationals,” he said. “I had a good weekend and somehow took the title.”

In his final year as a junior competitor, Silk is working on his power and turns.

“I’m the youngest on the (national) team by like two years,” he said. “I hope to try and close the gap to those older guys. Hopefully, they lead me to a good Junior Worlds and try to finish my junior career off on a good note.”

Rands-Evans took a more circuitous route than Silk to speed skating success.

“It was not the smoothest journey, but it was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was challenging. I like to be challenged. I was like, well, if we’re going to do this, let’s go all in. So, here we are. We are going for it.”

She credited husband, Loren Evans, with helping make it possible for her to train while she also holds down a full-time job as a manager for a contact lens company.

“He is literally the most positive person I have ever met,” Rands-Evans said. “He is the absolute best. Honestly, I don’t think I could do this without him because I work so much. So grateful for him.”

Now she says she wants to manage her expectations in this first year with the team.

“I really want to build off of last season, and I’d love to see some more personal bests, make another (national) team and really keep the trajectory going,” Rands-Evans said. “I’m excited for this season. I’m here because I love to skate. If we’re not having fun, how are we ever going to get to peak results?”

Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.