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Midland hosts 2024 U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals

by Aidan Liu

Photo by: Raymond Lin

The 2023-2024 US Short Track Speed Skating season reached an exhilarating conclusion with the U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals, held in Midland, Michigan. The Midland Speedskating Club hosted the event at the Midland Civic Arena from March 15th to March 17th. The competition featured 120 skaters from 24 clubs nationwide coming together to compete in a weekend of exciting and nail-biting moments. The event was open to age-group qualified athletes with skating age 11 and up. 


Potomac clutched the Club Champion with 83 points. Following Potomac, Madison and Bay State took 2nd and 3rd place respectively.


On the men’s side of the competition, Aaron Liu placed first overall in the Junior A winning the 1500m, 1000m, and 500m with Leo Drossos-Thompson in second and John Schnor in third.

In the Junior B Men’s Division Wesley Jones took the overall win with Brandon Liao and JaTier Salter in second and third place, respectively.  


In the Junior C Men’s Division, Aidan Liu placed first overall with 1st in the 1500m, 1st in the 1000m, and 5th in the 500m. William Wang won second and Benjamin Sullivan took third place. 


In our youngest Junior D men’s division, Lucas Wu placed first overall with Ethan Lin in second and Gabriel Rillotta in third. 


Photo by: Raymond Lin

Switching over to the women’s side of the competition, In the Open Junior A Women's Division, Caroline Anderson locked down first place, with Renee Miller and Diana Bickmore coming in second and third.

Elizabeth Rhodehamel won first place in the Junior B Women’s Division, placing in first in the 1500m and 500m, and second in 1000m. Michelle Yi placed second and Selena Su placed third overall. 


Within the Junior C Women’s Division, Olimpia Kazanecka took first place overall with wins in all distances. Sofia Koons and Isabella Chen, took second and third places respectively for both divisions. 


In our youngest Junior D Women’s division Tiffany Zhang clinched first place. Vanessa Chan placed second and Makayla Chou placed third.


For our master groups, there were 35 skaters across 3 groups with ages ranging from 30+ to 80+. Our senior competitor was Craig Pielechowski in the 80+ Masters Age Group division. 


Photo by: Raymond Lin

One of the most exciting parts of this weekend featured Age Group 2000m Mixed Relay Finals. In total, the event had 7 Mixed Relay Finals, with 5 Junior and 2 Master groups. With so many skaters who have never trained, let alone done relays together, it was interesting to see how teams were able to coordinate and devise a strategy so quickly and form bonds with other skaters that they were meeting for the first time.


Additionally, this event featured the setting of several new National Records, which are listed below:

Women:

Olimpia Kazanecka (Junior C) - Potomac, 1000m

Jamie Jung (30-34) - Flushing Meadows, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Cherise Wilkins (35-39) - Syracuse, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

April Chernoby (40-44) - West Michigan, 500m

Sara Cushman (45-49) - Bay State, 1000m, 1500m

Nathalie Rodrigue-Hasselback (50-54) - Buffalo, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Melissa Koenig (55-59) - Glen Ellyn, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Judith Smouter (70-74) - Wolverine, 1500m, 1000m, 500m


Men:

Wesley Jones (Junior B) - PNIC, 1000m

Aaron Liu (Junior A) - PNIC, 1000m

Michael Burdekin (30-34) - Full Throttle, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

JinSung Kim (35-39) - Bay State, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Lukasz Budz (40-44) - Glen Ellyn, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Maxim Pometun (45-49) - East Penn, 1000m

Keith Wobeser (50-54) -  East Penn, 1000m, 1500m

Eddie Kim (55-59) - Park Ridge, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Andrew Holtzhauser (60-64) - Lakewood, 1500m, 1000m, 500m

Craig Pielechowski (80-84) - Buffalo, 1500m, 1000m, 500m


Last but certainly not least was the Future of Speed Camp, held in conjunction with the Age Group Nationals. 21 skaters in total lit up the ice with full energy to display their skills and status as the nation’s next young stars in both the camp activities and competitions.


Photo by: Raymond Lin

Thank you to the Midland Speedskating Club for hosting this year’s Age Group Nationals, and all of the volunteers and officials for making this event possible! We will see you all again in next year's Age Group Nationals! 

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