Team USA Makes History In Season Opener In Poland

by Rebecca Reza

Team USA’s Long Track Speed Skating team kicked off the 2021-2022 season on a high note, leaving Poland with a handful of hardware before heading to Norway for World Cup #2. It was the Floridians who brought the heat, taking home three Golds, a Silver and a Bronze from Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland at the opening stop of the ISU Speed Skating World Cup Season.

Erin Jackson (Ocala, Fla.) won the first Gold Medal for Team USA in the first 500m race, making history and becoming the first Black American woman to win a speed skating World Cup race. 24-hours later she would do it again, this time breaking the Track Record she set the previous day with a time of (37.555).  

Jackson’s win was quickly followed by Joey Mantia (Ocala, Fla.) taking Bronze in the 1500m in a time of (1:46,388). Representing Team USA in the 1500 Division B Group was Emery Lehman (Oak Park, Ill.), Conor McDermott-Mostowy (Washington, D.C.) and Casey Dawson (Park City, UT.)  Lehman led the way with the top finish among the men in 8th (1:48.611), followed by McDermott-Mostowy in 18th (1:49.756) and Dawson in 28th (1:50.943).

Brittany Bowe (Ocala, Fla.) continued where she left off last season winning Gold in the 1000m, after nearly colliding with Daria Kachanova as the Russian exited an inner corner. Luckily, the near collision did not faze Bowe as she went on to set a Track Record in a time of  (1:14.86). Bowe finished ahead of the Japanese duo of Miko Takagi (1:15.385) and Nao Kodaira (1:15.711). Bowe wrapped up the weekend's medals taking Silver in the Women’s 1500m in a time of (1:56.606). Takagi won the 1500m in a time of (1:56.000). 

Although I’m really pleased with my weekend of racing, winning a gold and silver medal, what I’m most excited about is all 3 Ocala kids coming away with hardware— Erin winning both 500m and Joey winning Bronze in the 1500m” commented Bowe. “It’s a pretty unique story that we three share, so for all of us to be able to capitalize on our hard work is pretty special.” 

Kimi Goetz (Flemington, N.J.) finished just outside the top ten in the 1000m in a time of (1:17.208). Several American athletes made their World Cup debut in Poland including Sarah Warren (Willowbrook, Ill.) - finishing 12th and 15th in the two 500m Division B races. Cooper McLeod (Burlington, Wash.) finished in the top ten in both Division B 500m’s. Austin Kleba (Campton Hills, Ill.) raced the Division B 1000m finishing in a time of (1:11.534) behind teammate Conor McDermott-Mostowy, who landed inside the top 20 with a time of (1:11.222).

Brianna Bocox (Cheyenne, Wyo.) finished 10th in the 1000m Division B (1:18.510), ahead of Erin Jackson in 12th (1:19.479). Bocox raced as part of the Women’s Team Pursuit squad with Mia Manganello-Kilburg (Crestview, Fla.), and Dessie Weigel (Boise, Ida,). The women finished 7th in a time of  (3:09.282). Manganello-Kilburg took 9th in the Women’s Mass Start and in the Women’s 3000m. Ian Quinn (St. Louis, Mo.), finished 9th in the Men’s Mass start.

Team USA had three male skaters compete in the Division B 5000m with Casey Dawson as the top finisher for the team in 5th in (6:26.868). Ethan Cepuran (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) finished 10th (6:30.541) ahead of Emery Lehman in a time of (6:31.112). 

Lehman, Mantia and Dawson raced in the Division B of the Team Pursuit winning and setting a Track Record in the process in a time of (3:45.473). Team USA’s time would have earned a Silver Medal behind the Dutch who took Gold and lowered the USA’s track record in a time of (3:44.567). 

Jackson and Bowe were the big stars for Team USA in Poland, breaking three Track Records and skating with a ton of confidence against the best skaters in the world. It was a great start for Team USA as they head to Norway for World Cup #2.

“It goes without saying that we’re very happy about the way Team USA performed this weekend in Poland to start off the Olympic season. Earning five medals along with two Track Records was great,” remarked Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro. “It was also fun to see the rookies step up and embrace the challenge. It’s still early and we have a lot more work to do to sharpen up before the big show in February.

The team heads to Stavanger, Norway next for World Cup #2 beginning on the 18th. Complete results from the first World Cup in Poland can be found here.