Unexpected Long Track Season Wraps Up on a High Note
by Caitlin Moyer
This weekend, US athletes competed in the US Long Track Speedskating Championships presented by Toyota at the Utah Olympic Oval, in Kearns, UT.
The competition opened with Men’s and Women’s 500m and 1500m events on Friday, March 5, and was highlighted by 16-year-old Jordan Stolz (Milwaukee, Wisc.), setting a National Junior Record and a new personal best time en route to being named the Men’s 500m US Champion with a time of (34,99).
The record he broke was his own, set just last week.
Stolz’s coach, Bob Corby, was not surprised by his performance.
“[Jordan] has trained really hard all year and continued to lower his times, so we expected to go really fast in Salt Lake because it is such a great track. He is a really hard worker!” Corby said.
The Women’s 500m was won by Olympian Erin Jackson (Ocala, Fla.) with a time of (37,63).
“It felt great to finally race again after a pretty strange season,” said Jackson, who had battled an eye injury earlier this season.
“Erin was only able to race in two races since January when typically, it would’ve been 8-10. Each race she’s gotten better and better. It’s great to see her finishing strong and that the obstacles and injury she’s faced are not stopping her progression,” said Long Track National Team Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro.
In the Women’s 1500m, Mia Kilburg (Crestview, Fla.) saved her best for last, winning the event with a time of (1.54,85), a season best and personal record. Two-time Olympian Joey Mantia (Ocala, Fla.) also set a season best on the Men’s side, winning the 1500m with a time of (1.43,42).
In the Men’s Mass Start, Conor McDermott-Mostowy (Washington, D.C.) was crowned the US Champion and Giorgia Birkeland (White Bear Lake, MN) was named the Women’s US Champion in Mass Start.
On Saturday, the skaters competed in the Men’s and Women’s 1000m races, as well as the Women’s 3000m and Men’s 5000m.
For the second day in a row, Stolz set a National Junior Record, this time in the Men’s 1000m, where he came in third place with a time of (1.08,57). McDermott-Mostowy won the event with a personal and season best time of (1.08,12).
“Being Men’s Mass Start Champion is great, but a lot of the field dropped out of the race, so being 1000m National Champion is what I am really excited about. I had expected a lot from myself in the 1000m this year and have been a little disappointed so far. It’s an amazing feeling to end the year with a big PB in the race,” said McDermott-Mostowy.
“I had mixed emotions about my 1000m at the World Championships. On the one hand, it was amazing just to be there and skate with so many of my idols, but I was hoping for Top 16, and missing it by .004 was a little disappointed,” he continued.
“Although this race doesn’t have the gravitas of World Championships, winning here is one of my happiest skating moments to date.”
In the Women’s 1000m, Kimi Goetz (Flemington, N.J.) won the event with a season best of (1.14,42) and Jackson had another strong showing, coming in second with a personal record and season best (1.16,34).
In the Women’s 3000m, Kilburg picked up her second title of the weekend with a time of (4.07,12), while Ethan Cepuran (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) was crowned Men’s 5000m US Champion with a personal and season best time of (6.18,21).
Sunday’s finale saw the men and women again competing in the 500m and 1000m events with titles of US Sprint Champions at stake.
In the Men’s 500m, Cooper McCleod (Kirkland, Wash.) set a new National Junior Record with a time of (34,90), breaking the record set by Stolz on Friday, while Austin Kleba (Cameron Hills, Ill.) left the event with a time of (34,89) and Stolz finished third (35,07).
Joey Mantia led the Men’s 1000m with a time of (1.08,01) and McCleod set a new personal best in that event as well with a time of (1.08,76).
However, it was Kleba who took home the title of the Men’s US Sprint Champion, after logging season and personal bests in Friday’s 500m (35,10), Saturday’s 1000m (1.08,79) and establishing new season and personal best times in Sunday’s 500m (34,89). Olympian Kimani Griffin (Winston-Salem, N.C.) finished in second place, while junior skaters Stolz and McLeod finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Kimi Goetz led both the Women’s 500m and 1000m with times of (37,60) and (1.13,36), respectively. Her performances over the weekend also earned her the title of Women’s US Sprint Champion.
“In the last 9 days I had the opportunity to race three 500m races and two 1000m races. I'm really happy to finish out the season with the second and third fastest 500m races I’ve had in my career as well as the second fastest 1000m I have ever skated,” said Goetz.
“I'm looking forward to taking this momentum into the Olympic season.”
In addition, the Women competed in the 5000m event while the Men raced in the 10000m. Once again, Kilburg skated her way to another title-Women’s 5000m US Champion- with a time of (7:08:52), also a personal best.
On the Men’s side, Casey Dawson (Park City, Utah) was crowned Men’s 10000m US Champion with a season and personal best time of (13.04,12).
At the culmination of the events, Cepuran took home the title of Men’s US. Allround Champion while Dessie Weigel (Boise, Idaho) was named Women’s US Allround Champion.
Mia Kilburg, Brianna Bocox (Cheyenne, Wyo.) and Paige Schwartzburg (Ocala, Fla.) won the 6-lap Women’s event with a time of (3.07,05) while the 8-lap Men’s event was won by Cepuran, McDermott-Mostowy and Dawson with a time of (3.42,52).Coinciding with the weekend, several junior skaters participated in the Salty Cup Open. Aiden Meacham was the Men’s winner and Libby Williams was the Women’s winner; they are both from the Colorado Gold Club.
“The Long Track Championships this year provided the opportunity for good quality competition; the fact that these athletes were able to test themselves and wrap up the year on a high note, as well as give some of the juniors some recognition was a great thing,” said Matt Kooreman, US Speedskating Long Track Program Director.
To view results from the weekend click here.