US Short Track Season Wraps Up with Weekend Championships
by Caitlin Moyer
This weekend, US athletes competed in the US Short Track Speedskating Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval, in Kearns, UT March 19-20, 2021. This was one of the final events of the year before the Olympic season!
The competition opened with Men’s and Women’s 1500m and 500m events on Friday and concluded with the Men’s and Women’s 1000m race on Saturday. The Championships were highlighted by junior skater Brandon Kim (Fairfax, VA) and Olympian Maame Biney (Reston, VA) coming in first in each of their respective events.
“I’m glad the races played out so well this weekend,” Kim said. “It’s been a tough year with most of the national and international competitions being cancelled, but I’m thankful we were still able to train. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Olympic season.”
In the Men’s 1500m, Kim earned both US Champion and US Junior Champion titles with a time of (2.19,837). He was followed by Adam Callister (Salt Lake City, UT) (2.20,194) and junior skater Wesley Park (Irvine, CA) (2.21,151).
Kim later claimed two more titles in the Men’s 500m with a time of (41,577), followed by junior skater Ray Shim (Maple Valley, WA.) who set a new personal best with a time of (42,099) and Clayton DeClemente (Poughkeepsie, NY) (42,184).
On the Women’s side, Biney earned the title of Women’s 1500m US Champion with a time of (02.28,082). She was followed by Julie Letai (Medfield, MA) (2.29,896) and junior skater Jenell Berhorst (Auburn, WA) (2.29,998).
In the Women’s 500m, Biney earned her second title with a time of (43,404) and was followed up again by Letai and junior skater Hailey Choi (Oakton, VA). Letai and Choi each set new personal bests in the event with times of (44,010) and (44,208), respectively.
“I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how racing went (this weekend). I wasn’t feeling my best after traveling and peaking for the World Champs and honestly didn’t have very high expectations. But the fact that I can still perform considering that and having missed a lot of time earlier this season for my knee is really reassuring and makes me really excited to see what I can do next season with a real summer/fall training base too, which I wasn’t able to have this year due to the knee surgery,” said Letai.
The event wrapped up on Saturday with the Men and Women’s 1000m races, where Kim once again secured the titles of US Champion and US Junior Champion with a time of (1.26,884) followed by DeClemente (1.27,262) and Callister (1.27,232). Biney locked up her third title with a time of (1.30,988) followed by Choi (1.31,989) and Letai (1.32,352) in the Women’s race.
The Women’s Overall US Champion is Maame Biney followed by Julie Letai and Hailey Choi
The Men’s Overall US Champion is Brandon Kim followed by Clayton DeClemente Adam Callister
“I’m pretty satisfied with this weekend,” Biney said. “I tried some new things. I could’ve executed a couple races differently, but I tried to get out of my comfort zone so I’m pretty happy with that! Leaving this competition, I know that I have a lot of things to work on for next season, but I’m excited to do so.”
Short Track Program Director Andréa Do-Duc said she thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone race at the US Championships. “With so many unknowns this year with the pandemic, I”m happy the athletes got the opportunity to test themselves and finish up the season with a high-quality competition,” she commented.