A small contingent of Puget Sound skaters made their way to Wausau, WI., for the U.S. National Age Class Championships – Saree Han was competing in the Pony girls group, Aaron Tran skated with the Midget boys, Edwin Park participated in the Junior Mens class and Jan Zurcher, skating in the Masters 50-59 age class rounded out the group. When all was said and done on Sunday afternoon, our club had claimed a National Championship (Saree), 4 new national records (Saree) and three 2nd place overall finishes.

Saree’s first event was the semi-final for the 333 m. distance. In her first race, Saree bested the national record with a time of 00:35.525 – a little more than 3/10ths of a second better than the record set last season. In the final for this distance, however, Saree found herself behind Maame Biney as she crossed the finish line. She had claimed her first medal – a silver – but she was hoping to win the overall championship and knew that she would have to skate hard in the next races to meet her goal. Next came the 500 m. distance. Saree easily qualified for the final finishing nearly 3 seconds ahead of the second place qualifier in her semi-final. In the final, Saree skated a strong race, finishing first in a time of 00:51.676. This was faster than the existing record of 00:53.530 by nearly 2 seconds. To put this in perspective, this time was faster than the 500 m. times skated in the finals by most of the Junior and Intermediate ladies – skaters aged 14 – 17 as opposed to Saree’s skating age of 10. Saree and Maame were now tied in points for the overall championship. Going into the 222 m. race, Saree was nervous. However, she easily made it through the preliminary round and found herself standing on the starting line right next to Maame. The girls challenged each other in the quick 2 lap race with Saree crossing the finish line first with another gold medal, first place points and another new record (24.109 as compared to the old mark of 24.871 set by Andrea Chung last year). The final race of the competition was the 777 held on Sunday. Saree and Maame both made it to the finals. If Maame won this race, she and Saree would be tied on points but Maame would win the overall championship because of a rule that says that in the event of a tie in points, the winner of the longest distance wins the overall championship. Saree and Maame had a great race with Saree taking and holding the lead throughout the race. However, as she tired toward the end of the 6th lap, Maame came close to overtaking her. Then the bell rang signifying the girls were on their last lap. Saree dug deep and retained her lead to cross the line just 3/10s of a second ahead of Maame to claim her 3rd gold medal, her fourth record (Saree skated the distance in 01:21.791 vs. the former mark of 01:24.918) and the overall championship. Awesome job, Saree!

Aaron, coming off great success at long track nationals, was looking forward to similar results at short track nationals. There were 21 boys entered in the Midget class, so this meant skating two qualifying rounds to make it to the finals. The first distance was the 777 m. race – 7 laps around the track. Aaron made it through both the quarter finals and the semis to skate in his first final of the competition. He skated extremely well and came in second behind a skating dynamo from Virginia named Thomas Hong. Thomas, a 12 year old skater, has been skating for over 8 years and has the technique and speed of a much older skater. Aaron completed the distance in a time of 01:15.308 – a time faster than the existing record of 1:15.751 set by another skating phenom at the U.S. Short Track Nationals in 2008 – John-Henry Krueger who, this season, represented the U.S. at the World Junior Championships as a member of the Junior National team. Given that Aaron is skating times faster than John-Henry skated as a Midget boy, the skating future looks bright for Aaron. The second distance for the Midget boys was the 500 m. Aaron made it through the quarter finals but his semi-final was wrought with strange happenings. In an earlier race, when a skater fell and did not get up quickly the race was stopped. In Aaron’s race, a skater fell and did not get up because his skate got caught in the protective mats covering the rink boards. A track steward went to help the stuck skater and two of the boys heard someone tell them to stop, so they slowed down. However, some of the other skaters, recognizing that the referee had not told them to stop kept racing. Aaron was now in the middle of a pack. He started to pick up speed and clashed skates with a boy beside him. He raced away to catch up and caught the pack on the next corner and made a pass into third place. Unfortunately, the boy whom he had passed fell down and Aaron was disqualified for impeding. He would not be going on to the final in this distance. The third distance for the Midget boys was 333 m. Aaron made it to the final without incident. This time, he finished very close on Thomas’ heels which surprised everyone including Thomas who is used to dominating the competition. Aaron finished with a time of 00:32.125 – again, a time faster than the existing record (00:32.726) held by John-Henry Krueger. The final race was 1000 m. Off the line, Aaron and another skater clashed skates and the race was recalled to the starting line. When Aaron took off from the line, his skate blade felt funny and he was having trouble skating but he tried to put that out of his mind, accelerated and caught back up to and passed the pack. He chased Thomas for the remainder of the race. Again, the finish saw Thomas cross the line first with Aaron in 2nd place with a time of 01:47.320. Aaron claimed 3 silver medals and accumulated enough points to finish 2nd overall. In addition, his times bested national records in two of the four distances he skated. Great skating, Aaron!

Because we come from the west coast and Edwin has not competed in some of the higher profile competitions for skaters his age, Edwin was a bit of an unknown to the other skaters coming into this competition but he made his presence known with a vengenge. In the first race, the 1500 m. distance, Edwin skated in the 2nd seni-final and claimed the 3rd qualifying position. In the final, Edwin skated most of the race on the outside of the pack – sometimes close to the front, sometimes close to the back – but mostly on the outside being unable to find his way into the pack. On the last lap, it looked like Edwin was going to be out of the medals when he cranked up the gears and passed most of the pack on the outside to push his skate across the line in first place with a time of 02:30.254 – just 11/100ths of a second ahead of the second place finisher. He had a gold medal and those all important first place points. In the 500 m. distance, Edwin skated a stong race and claimed the 2nd qualifying position. Unfortunately, in the semi-final, he had a bit of bad luck. He ended up going a bit wide on the final turn and was nosed out at the finish line for the 2nd qualifying position. His best time in the two qualifying events was 00:45.796 which actually was the third fastest time for this age group in all of the rounds (including the final). Unfortunately, if you don’t make it to the final, you don’t get championship points. Edwin now had a bit of an uphill battle in his drive for the overall championship medal. This was important to him because the top finisher in the age group automatically gets a Category 1 classification and all of the perks (such as invitations to special training camps, a U.S. speedskating racing suit, etc.) that go with it. Edwin skated well in the next distance – the 1000 m. race – and made it to the final. Again, the skaters had a very close battle to the finish line. This time, however, it was Edwin who was inched out at the finish, missing 2nd place by 7/1000s of a second and just 1/10th of a second out of first place. However, a bronze medal was his. The final event for this age class was the grueling 3,000 m. distance – 27 laps around the track. This was skated as a super final – that is, only the top 8 skaters (or those with points), get to skate this race. Six Junior men stood at the start of the race. When the gun went off, the skaters started but V-E-R-Y slowly. Edwin led the pack at a leisurely pace for close to 9 laps and then dropped to the back of the pack. The next skater to lead followed Edwin’s suit and continued with the slow pace. The race did not really start to heat up until there were about 8 laps to go. Edwin was mainly at the back of the pack. But, again, right at the end, he hiked himself into high gear and made a sweeping outside pass around all of the other skaters to claim first place in a time of 05:24.116 – just 2/10ths of a second ahead of the next skater. Edwin had his 2nd gold medal of the competition. He finished with 2 gold medals and 1 bronze medal. Unfortunately, because he did not pick up any points in the 500 m. distance and but for a finish in the 1000 m. race that was not8/1000s faster, Edwin finished in 2nd place in the overall championship points – by a mere 3 points! Edwin, you skated amazingly well. Congratulations!

Jan skated in the Masters 50-59 class which, for racing purposes, was combined with the 60-69 class featuring the phenomenal Carole Moore. The Masters skaters were relegated to skating prior to the other skaters even showing up at the rink for their warm-ups, so they were at the rink at 6:15 a.m. and finished their racing day by 9:30 a.m. The competition began with the 1000 m. distance. Jan came second to Karen Verrone with a time of 02:919 – less than 6/10ths of a second behind. While not a personal best, this was faster than Jan has skated the distance in a couple of years. It was also the 3rd fastest time posted by any of the master ladies skaters (age classes 30 through 69), so was a satisfying result. In the 777 m. distance, Jan did not keep up with Karen as well as she would have liked and finished in a time of 01:34.389. Again, not a personal best but comparable with recent results. Saturday morning saw the masters back on the ice early once again to finish out their last two distances. Jan was hoping to do well in the 500 m. but intended to focus on skating more technically well – shoulders down, hips tucked in, etc. She finished well behind Karen with a time of 01:00.716 – a bit of a disappointing time. However, again, it was the 3rd fastest time posted by any of the ladies skating in the competition. The final distance was the 1500 m. superfinal. Jan skated close to Karen for the entire race but could not find the acceleration to pass, so finished in 2nd place again with a time of 03:05.177 (a personal best) just 1/10th of a second behind and again, the 3rd fastest time of all of the ladies.. In all, Jan claimed 4 silver medals and 2nd place overall.

February 16, 2010

With the new format, it is often difficult to tell how well you are doing against your peers while you are racing. This was even more complicated by the fact that the North American Competition was combined with American Cup #3. However, Edwin was pleased with his results in Utah; and, in the end, based on samalog points, Edwin finished in 8th place overall in the Junior B boys all around group. He was the 2nd ranked U.S. skater. Nathan Tomkinson was the topped ranked U.S. skater finishing in 2nd place overall behind a Canadian skater. Places 3 through 7 all went to Canadian skaters.

In the first distance – the 500 m. – Edwin finished with the 5th fastest time of all the competitors in his group. He crossed the line in 39.48 which is a personal best time for him. He was the second fastest U.S. skater finishing just 2/100s of a second behind Luke Tweddale. The second distance of the competition was the 3000 m race. Edwin finished in 10th place overall with a time of 4:20.35. Again, he was the 2nd fastest U.S. skater with Nathan being the only U.S. skater that finished with a faster time. In the 1500 m. distance, Edwin clocked the 11th fastest time in his group – 2:03.42. This time, he was the 3rd fastest U.S. skater – Nathan and Luke placed 5th and 6th respectively. The final distance was the long and gruelling 5000 m. distance. Edwin crossed the finish line in 7:40.48 for a 9th place finish overall. Again, that time was the 2nd fastest for any U.S. skater. The only U.S. skater to finish ahead of Edwin was Nathan who posted the 2nd fastest time in the competition. Given that this is the first time that Edwin has ever skated a 5000 m. race, he had an amazing finish time.

Edwin also chose to skate the Sprint Competition (comprised of two 500 m. races and two 1000 m. races). In the first 500 m. distance and the first 1000 m. distance, Edwin finished in 4th place overall in the Junior B class with times of 00:39.48 and 01:18.44 respectively. The second time at each of the distances was a bit slower – 40.07 and 01:19.12 – but still great results after a long weekend of skating. Edwin’s combined times (samalog points) placed him in 5th place overall in the sprint competition and the 2nd ranked skater for the U.S. Connor Slivocka was the top ranked American skater in this class.

Congratulations, Edwin! Well done.

February 12, 2010

Edwin Park will be the only skater from our club who will participate in the North American Long Track Age Class Speedskating Championships. The competition will be held on the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City this coming weekend. Good luck Edwin!

February 12, 2010

Jan returned home from Milwaukee and the World Master Sprints on Monday, February 8, 2010, with a second place trophy in hand and a cold/flu that would keep her down for the next several days. Feeling the effect of the cold during the races, Jan did not post the kind of times she would have liked at the event but still came out in second place in her age class behind Silvia Tessaro of Italy. Third place went to a Canadian from Ontario.

The first race was one of the 500 m. distances. Jan had the outer lane paired against Silvia. She was hoping for a good race. She and Silvia raced against each other in Calgary a couple of years ago and were very close. Unfortunately, Jan was not feeling comfortable at the start and did not get off the line very quickly. With little energy and no zip in her step, she was unable to keep pace with Silvia and finished in a time of 0:53.01 – not a great time for indoor ice. The second distance was the first of the two 1000 m. races. Jan was on the inner lane this time and paired with a much slower skater, so had no one to pace against. She crossed the finish line in 1:45.53 – well ahead of her pair but still only good enough for second place in the class (about 2 seconds – or 20 m. behind Sivia’s results). On Sunday, the skaters skated the same distances again. Starting with the 500 m. (in which Jan was paired with a skater from a younger age class) Jan got off to a much better start in this race but still lacked the energy to skate well. She did manage to finish first of the pair and the time was fast enough to hold her place in her age class. She finished this second 500 m. attempt in a time of 0:52.90 – again, a 2nd place finish. Starting to be beaten down by the on-coming cold, the 2nd 1000 m. race was a disappointment – a time of 1:46.75 – again, only good enough for 2nd place and well behind the time posted by the first place finisher.

February 11, 2010

The KOMO 4 TV News story appeared last evening. If you missed it, you can see it at this link:

February 9, 2010

Look for Puget Sound Speedskaters on the KOMO 4 TV news between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, 2010.

February 4, 2010

Just 4 days after returning from the U.S. National Long Track Age Class Championships, Jan will be heading back to the mid-west to participate in the Masters World Sprint races. This event attracts skaters from around the world to challenge for the title of World Sprint Champion in their age classes. At this event, which is held under ISU rules, the Masters classes are in 5 year age groups. Jan will skate in the 55-59 age group. A sprint championship involves skating 4 sprint distances – two 500 m. races and two 1000 m. races – all skated olympic style (that is, only two skaters on the ice at a time with each skater in his/her own lane). The winner of the world championship is the skater with the lowest total time for all 4 distances.

February 3, 2010

Puget Sound claims 3 National Championships, three second places, a 3rd place and a 4th place. On his way to winning the championship, Aaron set 4 new National records for his age class; Saree set new records for Pony girls in all 5 distances! Congratulations skaters and thank you Coach Lee for all your effort to help us hone our long-track skills.

Saree Han dominated the Pony girls class, winning every distance by a wide margin. In most of the races, Puget Sound skater, Allie DiNardo crossed the line in second place. Starting with the 500 m. distance, Saree crossed the line in a blistering time of 0:50.790 – claiming her first national record. Allie was second with a time of 54.530 – about 1.5 seconds ahead of the 3rd place finisher. The second distance for this age group was the shortest one – 1/2 lap or 200 m. Saree hit the finish line first with a time of 0:21.752 – a second National record went to Saree; Allie crossed in 2nd place in a time of 0:23.840 – about 1 second in front of the 3rd place finisher. The third distance was the 400 m. race – 1 time around the track. Once again, Saree dominated the field, claiming another record in a time of 0:42.017. Allie was 2nd with a time of 0:45.240 – again a full second ahead of the 3rd place finisher. The 4th distance was the 300 m. sprint. Saree finished in 1st with a record breaking time of 0:30.930. This time, however, Allie was nosed out of 2nd place by a skater from the Badger club. Allie finished in 3rd place with a time of 0:34.790 – just 8/100s of a second behind. The final race was the longest for the Ponies – 600 m. Again, Saree showed her great speed finishing in 1st place with a time of 1:02.610. For Allie, the race was a disaster, she fell in the 2nd corner and slid into the mats. With tears of frustration and disappointment streaming her face, she got up and finished the race in 6th place. She was devasted thinking that she had lost her 2nd place overall finish. But, when the points were totalled up, she finished in 2nd place overall. Saree claimed the championship medal for the Pony Girls class for 2010 and 5 gold medals. Allie came away with 3 silver medals and a bronze. Well done, girls!

Kai DiNardo was our only entry in the Pony Boys class. This was a large class which meant that Kai had to skate semi-finals to qualify for the medal round in each distance. In the 500 m. race, Kai claimed a qualifying spot in the final by placing 2nd in his semi-final. In the final, he claimed the bronze medal with a time of 0:56.460. The Pony Boys tackled the shortest race next – the 200 m. Kai claimed a qualifying spot in the semi-final and moved on to the final where he finished in 5th place with a time of 0:24.560 – just 1/10th of a second out of the medals but claiming valuable points for the overall title. The last race on Saturday for the boys was the 1 lap race. Kai qualified for the final easily and finished in the final with a time of 0:46.650 to claim 4th place and an Iron medal. Going into the second day of competition, Kai was tied for 3rd place overall on points. The first race on Sunday sealed Kai’s fate. In the 300 m. seni-final, he missed a qualifying position by 7/100th of a second and would not earn any points for the distance. Undiscouraged, Kai skated a great final set of races. He claimed the last qualifying position in the semi-final despite a fall and in the final came within 6/100ths of a second of the bronze medal. In the end, Kai finished in 4th place overall and took home 3 medals – 1 bronze and 2 Iron. The good news is that Kai still has another year to skate in the Pony Boys age class. He’ll be ready in 2011.

One of our Midget boys – Aaron Tran – were the talk of the competition. Aaron has such amazing technique and just flew down the ice – dominating the races in every distance except one… the 500 m. which had a surprise start. Aaron was standing at the start line prior to the race but did not know that he should have his jacket off before he was called to the line. Then, to make matters worse, when he tried to get his jacket off, his glove got caught and it took him some time to get to the line. He was given a false start. Then, for reasons, unexplained, he was ordered off the start line and he had to stand and watch as the first race started without him. Isaiah was also representing our club in this semi-final and he blasted off the line to finish in 1st place in his semi-final and qualify for the final. Isaiah finished first in the 500 m. final with a time of 0:50.730 in a photo finish with two other skaters – less than 2/10s of a second separated the top 4 finishers. The situation changed greatly in the next race. Undaunted by his disqualification in the 500 m., Aaron was a boy on a mission. In the semi-final of the 400 m. race, Aaron finished nearly 4 full seconds ahead of the next finisher (Isaiah) with a record breaking time and in the final skated to first place and a National record in a time of 0:36.429 (breaking his record from the semi-final). Spectators were agog at the technique of this kid from a short track club who had never skated on a long track prior to arriving in Roseville two days before. It was truly amazing to watch the almost perfect form. Unfortunately, Isaiah did not have a very good race and finished out of the medals in 5th place. In the 600 m. distance, Aaron and Isaiah were in the same semi-final and claimed the top 2 qualifying positions. In the final, Aaron again skated away from the pack and finished the 1.5 laps in a time of 0:54.566. Isaiah finished in 2nd place with a time of 0:58.980 – about 1/2 second ahead of the next two boys who tied for 3rd. Aaron smashed the existing record for this distance as well. The question people were asking was: If he can skate 600 m. in 0:54, how fast could he skate the 500 m. distance? At the end of the first day of racing, the Puget Sound skaters were in great positions. Even with the disqualification and earning no points in the first distance, Aaron was in 1st place on points (68) and Isaiah was second (60 points). Sunday morning started with the boys skating a semi-final in the shortest race for this age group – the 300 m. This time, Aaron and Isaiah were in different qualifying rounds. Aaron qualified in 1st position and Isaiah took the second qualifying spot in his semi-final. The final saw Aaron take the win with a time of 0:28.532 and another National Record. Unfortunately, Isaiah finished in last spot in the final although he was close – there was only about a total of one second between the 2nd and 6th place finish. In the final race – the 800 m., Aaron continued his record smashing ways. Both Aaron and Isaiah made it through the preliminary rounds and stood on the start line of the final together. As in the other races, Aaron took off and dominated the track. He finished in a record breaking time of 1:14.089 – a full 5 seconds ahead of 2nd place. Isaiah took the bronze medal in a time of 01:19.660 – missing silver by just 3/10ths of a second. Had he been able to finish 2nd in this race, he would have finished in 2nd place overall behind Aaron. In the end, Aaron claimed 4 gold medals, 4 National records and the overall National Championship for Midget Boys. Isaiah took home 1 gold medal, 1 silver and 1 bronze and a 3rd place finish overall. Good job!

This year, Clare Jeong moved up to the Juvenile Girls class. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of challengers in this class this year, so the girls only got to skate each distance once and it was a final – which meant no room for error. The Juvenile girls skate 5 distances – 500 m., 800 m., 1000 m., 300 m. and 1500 m. In each event, Clare led for most of the race while Shelby Comeau drafted behind her and then pulled out after the last corner for the pass. In each case, these two girls had very close finishes and were well ahead of the rest of the pack. In the 500 m. race, Clare finished with a time of 0;48.440 – 4/100s of a second behind Shelby. In the 800 m. distance, the margin was about the same – Clare finished in 1:21.820 to Shelby’s 1:21.767. In the 1000 m., Clare led most of the way and finished in a time of 1:34.780. This time Shelby crossed the line about 6/10ths of a second ahead. In the 300 m. race, Clare crossed the line just after Shelby in a time of 0:29.770. The frustration continued in the final race as Clare led for much of the 1500 m. distance but could not hold Shelby off in the end. She finished with a time of 2:31.340. Despite her disappointment, Clare skated very strong races and finished in 2nd place in the country claiming 5 silver medals AND she has another year to skate in this age class. Congratulations, Clare. This was a great finish.

Edwin Park skates in the Junior boys class this year. Again, the number of participants was small, so there were only finals in each distance. Edwin’s experience was much like Clare’s – at the end of each race, he found himself in 2nd place behind Nathan Tomkinson. The first race was the 1000 m. Edwin finished in 2nd place with a strong time of 1:26.880 – 1/100th of a second behind Nathan. The 800 m. race was also a close finish with Nathan just edging out the win. Edwin finished with a time of 1:10.540. Next came the the 1500 m. race. Again, Nathan crossed the line just in front of Edwin who finished with a time of 2:28.250 – about 3/10ths of a second after Nathan. by the end of the day, Edwin had a lock on 2nd place but he was frustrated with not being about to take a win. On Sunday morning, he was determined to change that. When the gun went off at the start of the 500 m. race, Edwin took advantage of his strong start and surged into the lead. At the finish line, he was still in front and took his first gold medal of the competition completing the 1 and 1/4 laps in 0:42.930 with Nathan about 1 second behind. The final race for the Junior Boys is a 3000 m. distance – 7.5 laps around the track. The wind was picking up and Edwin did not have the experience to keep up with Nathan. He finished well back but still in 2nd place with a time of 4:44.710. In all, Edwin brought home 1 gold medal (500 m.) and 4 silver medals and was 2nd in the country for his age class.

Jan skated in the Masters III class (ages 50-59) which turned out to be the most hotly contested class of all the masters (and of much of the competition). Jan was just glad to be able to skate at all. After the Wednesday night practice, she suffered a severe muscle cramp in her left leg which remained painful to the touch through all of Friday. However, by Saturday, although it was touchy, she was able to skate. Because there were very few masters ladies, the Masters II class and the Masters IV class were combined with Jan’s class for the races. The first race was the 1000 m. distance and Jan made a tactical error by leading more of the distance than she should have and waiting too late for the final move to pass. As a result, she finished in 2nd place with a time of 1:50.02 – about 12/100ths of a second behind. So close that neither skater knew who had won. The 800 m. distance was next with Jan taking first place in a time of 1:25.03. Surprisingly, the time margin was another 12/100ths of a second. The third race of the day was the first of two 1500 m. This race was won by a strong skater from the East Coast. Unfortunately, Jan finished in 3rd place with a time of 2:44.850. The points were close. Each of the top 3 skaters had 1 win. In the other two races, Jan had a 2nd and 3rd; Karen had two 2nds; and, Kathy had two 3rds. Jan was behind Karen for top spot by 8 points. To win the Championship, Jan would have to claim at least a win in one of the final two races and a second in the other. On Sunday morning, the first race was the sprint – 500 m. Jan was ready at the start line when the gun sounded and she sped off. At the end of the race, Jan had claimed 1st place with a time of 0:53.620 – finishing about 1.5 seconds ahead of the next place finisher. Now it came down to the finish in the last race – a second crack at that 1500 m. distance. If Jan could finish 2nd or better, she would claim the championship. The start was intense. Jan pulled the first part of the race and then pulled out to let someone else lead for a bit. Luckily, she was able to pull back in in second place behind Kathy. And that’s the way the race finished. Kathy finished in 1st place, Jan took second with a time of 2:51.570 and Karen was just a slim 13/100s behind for 3rd place. Jan had won the National Championship by a very slim margin indeed! Congratulations to Kathy and Karen on skating some great races. It was a lot of fun. Also, congratulations to Carole Moore who moved into the Master IV class this year and set 4 new National records for that age class.

January 29, 2010

Little did they know what they were getting into. When the skaters from the Pacific Northwest arrived at the outdoor Roseville Oval on Wednesday afternoon, they were faced with temperatures around 5 degrees Farenheit and a wind from the North. When they hit the ice for the second practice after 9:00 p.m. and the sun had gone down, it felt even colder. But they were enthusiatic and focused in their practice as they tried to adapt to the larger track.

January 26, 2010

Ice time changes:
There will be no skating practices from Wednesday, January 27, 2010, through Sunday, January 31, 2010. The next ice session will be on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. Why?

Because on Wednesday, eight skaters will head off to the colder climes of Roseville, MN, to represent the Pacific Northwest at the U.S. National Age Class Long Track Speedskating Championships. These races are skated pack style and allow the best skaters from across the country to challenge each other in a 5 distance, total points competition. Age classes for younger skaters are in two year spans and for masters, they are in 10 year spans. Saree Han and Allie DiNardo will represent us in the Pony girls class (skaters aged 10 and under); Kai DiNardo will skate in the Pony boys class. In the Midget boys, we will be represented by Aaron Tran and Isaiah Oliver. Clare Jeong will skate with the Juvenile girls – her first year in this class; and, Edwin Park will compete in the Junior boys – also his first year in the class. Rounding out our group of eight is Jan Zurcher who will skate in the Masters 50-59 class.

The group is heading out a couple of days early to give the skaters a chance to skate on a long track oval in advance of the competition. While the other skaters have participated in long track competitions in prior years, this will be the first time on the big track for both Aaron and Isaiah.

Good luck to all the skaters.

January 20, 2010

Olympics years are always good ones for our little known sport. As the interest in the Olympics and athletes from this area peaks ahead of the opening of the games, so does the drive for the media to find local interest stories. This year, the Puget Sound Speedskating Club is one of those local interest stories. KOMO 4 TV came to our club on Sunday and spent about 3 hours taking video of our practice and doing interviews with some of our skaters. The resulting story will air on KOMO 4 TV Dinner Time News sometime before the Olympics.

December 28, 2009

Our short track skates have been tucked away for the time being and the rink is filled with the “clop, clop, clop” of long track skates. Eight skaters are preparing to participate in the U.S. National Long Track Championships that will take place in Roseville, MN. at the end of January, 2010. It’s a challenge to train for racing on a 400 m. oval by skating in a short track rink but Coach Lee has lots of ideas about how to help us get ready.

December 23, 2009

Just a reminder that there will be no ice time on Friday, December 25.

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to everyone. Our 4th Annual Puget Sound Challenge Cup races are over. A great time was had by all. Thank you parents for all the great food! Thank you to all our volunteers – timers, place judges, starter, track stewards, clerk of the course and recorders. Without your support, this event would not be possible. And, thank you to the Puget Sound Hockey Center staff for giving us great ice for this event. Many skaters skated personal bests. And, for many of our new skaters, this was their first opportunity to put their technical skills to the test in real races. You all did great!. To see your times, check out the results.

In terms of the Challenge Cup races – there was one race for the top 6 men and one race for the top 6 women. On the boys side, Puget Sound skaters swept the top 3 positions. Edwin Park took the first place cup finishing in a time of 1:38.27; Jimmy Han finished in 2nd place with a time of 1:42.20 with Aaron Tran close on his heels at 1:43.00. On the girls side, Clare Jeong won the covetted first place trophy with a time of 1:46.56. The second place cup went to Nicole Majesa of British Columbia who finished in a time of 1:49.86. Taking the 3rd place trophy was Saree Han who finished in a time of 1:57.59.

December 17, 2009

Just a reminder to skaters and parents that our annual interclub competition is this weekend. Skaters should be at the rink for registration and warm-up by noon. On ice warm-ups will begin at 12:00 noon with racing to take place between 1:00 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. The awards ceremony will follow in the upstairs room at the rink about 30 minutes after the final race is completed and mats have been removed from the ice and stacked.

December 5, 2009

Just a reminder to skaters to get their registrations in for the 4th Annual Puget Sound Challenge Cup. This is a fun event with lots of racing, food and prizes!

November 24, 2009

Only two of our skaters – Edwin Park and Saree Han – went north to Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, this past weekend to participate in the POCO Interclub Meet being held there in conjunction with their B.C. Winter Games qualifier races. Edwin finished as the top ranked male skater amongst a strong group of about 35 Juvenile, Junior and Intermediate skaters. The first race was a 777 m. distance. Edwin crossed the line in fourth place with a time of 1:13.23 – a fast time but not the result he was looking for in terms of place. The second event was the 1000 m. race and Edwin was very happy with his first place finish in a personal best time of 1:31.97. Next came the short sprint – the 500 m. race. Edwin excels in this distance because of his very fast, strong starts. He finished the race in first place with a time of 45.65 – a personal best by nearly 1 second. The last race was the longest – 13.5 laps – and while Edwin won the distance, there was some confusion in the timer’s box and none of the skaters in his heat received their times for this race.

Saree Han also had a great competition. Although she skates as a Pony in the U.S. (that is, with skaters aged 10 years and under), at this competition, she skated with skaters ranging in age from 10 to 17). After all the races were finished, Saree was the 4th fastest girl in the competition – only 3 Intermediate skaters (ages 16-17) were ranked higher than she was. Saree finished the 777 m. distance in 1:27.11. To put this in perspective, the next fastest girl in her age class clocked in at 1:31.90. Had they been in the same race, Saree would have been about 1/2 lap ahead in a 7 lap race. In the 1000 m. race (a distance not typically skated by skaters Saree’s age), her skate crossed the line in 1:50.68 – the third fastest time for all of the girls in the competition and less than 3/10s of a second behind a 17-year old boy. Michelle Moreira, a 17 year old skater had the fastest time with a clocking of 1:47.98. The 500 m. distance was next and Saree had a somewhat disappointing time of 0:55.09 – no where near her personal best of 52.00. The final distance for Saree’s group was another 1000 m. race. Again, Saree posted a great time with 1:52.26.

Congratulations to these two skaters on their great performance and attaining new personal bests.

October 20, 2009

  • Mark your calendar! The 4th Annual Puget Sound Challenge Cup Competition is scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 20, 2009.

October 20, 2009

  • Seven Puget Sound skaters – Clare, Edwin, Jimmy, Aaron, Isaiah, Saree and Jan – attended the first short track races of the season sponsored by the B.C. Speedskating Association. This event was billed as an Age Class sprint event, gender separated and was meant to allow skaters to obtain early season times to use as qualifying times for other meets this season. Over 125 skaters from all over the greater Vancouver area came togerther in Mission, B.C. for this competion. Clare, Edwin, Jimmy and Aaron skated in the Juvenile (12 years) and up class. While Saree and Isaiah were our representatives in the Midget (11 years) and younger class. Jan skated with the Masters. The competition was well run and a lot of fun. We hope that we will have the opportunity to attend some other competitions as a group this season. For complete results, see the meet protocol.
  • Although only a first year Juvenile in the U.S., Clare is a second year Juvenile skater in Canada. In the first 1000 meter race, Clare skated in the second group and led the pack out to a very fast time. She ended up finishing second in the race with a time of 1:44.49. This was the second fastest time for the 1000 meter distance posted by any of the girls in the competition. Here next race was a 500 m. sprint. She fiinshed in 1st place in her group posting a time of 00:51.13 which was the fastest time for any of the Juvenile aged girls (12 and 13) and the 7th fastest time overall. In the second 500 m. race of the day, Clare skated a great race and made an excellent inside pass. Unfortunately, she was ruled to have cross-tracked and was disqualified. Unofficially, her time was 00:50.22. In the final race of the day, another 1000 m. distance, she fell early in the race. In all, she finished in 10th place o f the 31 girls skating in the division.
  • Edwin, in Canada, is a second year Junior. He skated with a very fast and competitive group of young skaters. Unfortunately, his competition did not get off to a great start. Although, based on his seed time, he started in the top group of male skaters, he fell in the first 1000 m. distance with just 2 laps to go and then again in the first 500 m. distance. This left him sitting low in the overall rankings. However, in the 10000 m. up to the time of the fall, he was skating very strong and consistent laps; and, in the 500 m. distance, he had a 12.5 second opening lap – very fast. In the second 500 m. race of the day, the now disappointed Edwin skated a relatively slow (for him) race finishing first in his group with a time of 00:40.67. In the final 1000 m. race, he finished in 1st palce in his group with a time of 1:40.36 which turned out to be the 3rd fastest time of all the skaters and the 2nd place time amongst Junior aged skaters.
  • Jimmy and Aaron skated in the same division as Edwin. Jimmy had some great races. In the first 1000 m. distance, he finished with a personal best of 1:42.61 taking 1st spot in his group (and the 2nd fastest Juvenile overall for the distance). In the first 500 m. race, Jimmy clocked in at 00:50.15; in the second, he crossed the finish line in a slightly faster time of 00:50.09. In the last distance, the second 1000 m. race of the day, he finished just behind Edwin with a time of 1:43.29. This was the fastest time posted by any Juvenile aged skater in the second 1000. Jimmy finished in 12th place overall for all the boys aged 12 to 19.
  • Aaron was close on Jimmy’s heels in each of the races as both boys skated in the same group throughout the competition. In the first 1000 m. distance, Aaron finished in a time of 1:42.80. This was the 3rd fasted time posted by any Juvenile skater which is a great result considering that, in the U.S. Aaron is still classified as a Midget skater. In the two 500 m. races, Aaron clocked in at the exact same time – 00:50.22 – just 10ths of a second behind Jimmy. Again, this was the 3rd fastest time amongst the Juvenile boys. In the final 1000 m. distance, Aaron had a disappointing fall. He ended up in 14th place overall for the division.
  • Saree, skating in the Midget girls class, dominated the ice. In the first race of the day – the 333 m. distance – Saree skated to a half lap lead finishing with a time of 00:36.06 (with the second lap timed at 10.96 seconds – very fast for a 10 year old skater) – a full 6.5 seconds faster than the 2nd place finisher. This was repeated again in the second 333 m. race in which Saree clocked a time of 00:36.51. The next two distances were both 500 metre races. Saree won both – the first in a time of 00:55.77, the second with a time of 00:56.33. Each race, she was nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
  • Isaiah skated with the Midget boys. In the first 333 m. race, he was leading when he stumbled just before the finish line, fell head first across the line and ended up with a second place finish. It’s when the skates cross that counts. His time turned out to be 00:38.09. In the second 333 m. distance, he finished in first place in the first group clocking the fastest time for all the boys at 36.89. In the first 500 m. distance, he finished in 3rd place with a time of 00:55.35 (a virtual tie with the second place finisher). In the final distance of the day – another 500 m. race – Isaiah fell. However, despite the 2 falls, he finished in 5th place amongst the 33 competitors in his division.
  • Jan also had a bit of a disappointing competition. First, there were no other Masters ladies entered in the competition, so she had to skate with 6 Master men. In the first 777 m. distance, she found herself without a lot of energy and ended up with a quite slow time of 1:37.33 – although it was good enough for second place. The next race was a 500 m. distance which she finished in 1:01.52 – about 2 seconds off her personal best set last December at North Americans. The second 500 m. was better. The leader fell with just 1.5 laps to go and Jan won the distance with a time of 1:00.90. In the final 777 m. distance, all of the skaters were placed in the same heat and it was difficult to skate around the slower skaters who were skating side by side across the ice on the straight aways, some of whom were lapped twice. As a result the time for the second attempt at this distance was even slower than the first – 1:38.26.

September 15, 2009

  • Ice times for the coming season will be changing. The Tuesday sessions will be focused on our beginning skaters. Starting the first weekend in October, we will be giving up our first ice session and starting an extended second session. Ice time on Sunday will now run from 2:20 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. with dryland to follow.

August 30, 2009

  • Clare Jeong has returned from her skating summer in South Korea looking trim, fit and very grown up. She has also grown in her skating skills after spending all summer with some of the best young skaters in South Korea. We are very glad to have her back in the fold. On a disappointing note, Julia and Kevin Nam have decided not to return to skating this fall. Kevin is pursuing swimming and tennis while Julia is taking a break from the rigours of athletic training. They will both be missed.

July 15, 2009

  • The Puget Sound Club is pleased to welcome its newest skaters: Rebecca, Rachael, Jane, Jessie, Josh and Shawn. Coach Lee will be working with these beginner skaters over the summer as we all prepare for a new skating season.

June 30, 2009

  • Ice sessions are going to be a bit empty over the course of the next 2 months as several of our best skaters head off to spend all or part of the summer skating in South Korea. Clare will be gone for all of July and August skating twice a day, 6 dfays a week with a strong club of young skaters. Jimmy and Saree will spend the month of July with a club in South Korea that spends about 8 to 9 hours per day training. Julia and Kevin will be travelling to South Korea with their mother this July and Edwin will be going to South Korean to study for the SAT and will skate a couple of times per week with the same club Clare will be visiting.

May 3, 2009

  • The summer training season is about to move into full swing. Starting in May, Tuesday skating sessions will recommence. Ice time is from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with dryland to follow. In addition, this season, starting in May, Coach Lee will be running time trials and practice races during the second ice session on the last Sunday of each month. The purpose for this is to give the skaters more opportunity to skate in “race-like” situations. For many, the lack of race experience impacted their results at the U.S. Nationals.

March 14, 2009

Although no National Championships were won, Puget Sound skaters did very well at the U.S. Shhort Track Age Class Nationals. We all want to thank Coach Lee for his tireless efforts getting us ready for this competition.

  • Day 1 saw Saree compete in the 500 m. distance for the Pony Girls. There were 17 competitors in this age class, so to make it to the medal round required winning a qualifying position in both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. Saree skated in the first quarter-final and finished easily in 2nd place to move on to the second round. In the semi-final, Saree skated in the first heat which turned out to be a very fast one. Four out of the five skaters skated the distance faster than the 1st place finisher in the second semi-final heat. Unfortunately, although she skated a time of 00:54.389, Saree missed qualifying for the final. On Saturday, the Ponies skated their 333 m. distance and the preliminary rounds for their shortest distance the 222 m. race. In the 333 m., Saree easily qualified for the semi-finals by taking 2nd. In the semi-final, Saree also placed 2nd to move into the medal round. The final was a very close race in which 2nd and 3rd were actually credited with the exact same time of 00:36.548. Saree finished in 5th place with a time of 00:36.819 less than 3/10th of a second behind. The 222 m. race was not so successful, Saree took a spill during the quarter-final and did not move on. On Sunday, Sarees only race was the longest distance the 777 m. She skated a great time in her semi-final 01:28.736 but missed qualifying for the final by about of a second. Overall, Saree took home 1 Iron medal and finished the competition in 7th place but she still has another year to skate in this class.
  • The Pony Boys class was very large 29 skaters in all. Seoul was in the last of the 5 quarter-final heats. He was skating a very good race when he fell on a corner and went sliding into the mats. Wet and disappointed, his first day of competition was over early. On Saturday, Seoul skated the 333 m. distance first. Anxious to do well after the disappointment from Friday, Seoul was nervous and was skating too forward on his toes. Unfortunately, this caused him to fall during the race and he did not move on to the second round. Hoping to redeem himself in the next race, Seoul was over anxious on the line. He fell right off the start. Often when this happens, the starter will stop the race and restart it. However, he did not do that in this case. Amazingly, Seoul got up, got going again and skated two absolutely amazing laps to basically catch the pack by the finish line. Even with the fall, he finished the race with a time of 00:28.702. If you allowed just 5 seconds for the fall, Seoul actually skated his two laps faster than the fastest time skated for the distance 00:24.713. The coaches in the coaches box commented on their amazement at the skill, speed and determination that Seoul showed in coming back in this race. Perhaps small consolation to a disappointed 11 year old but a great skate nonetheless! On Sunday, Seoul was a boy with a mission he was going to qualify for the next round of the last distance the 777 m. and he did. The race was close at the line with just 6/100th of a second separating 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Seoul finished in qualifying position to skate in the semi-final for the distance. In the semi-final, Seoul skated a strong race to finish in a time of 01:26.912 two seconds faster than in the quarter final. Unfortunately, although his time was faster than even the 1st place time in the second semi-final, he finished in 4th place in his semi-final (by a mere 14/100th of a second) and only the top 3 moved on. However, he did post the 4th fastest time of any skater in his class in any round for this distance. Congratulations, Seoul, on a great race.
  • The Midget Ladies class was slightly smaller with a total of 14 skaters but they too had to skate two rounds prior to the finals. Clare was our team member in this class. The first race was the 777 m. Clare easily qualified for the semi-finals. The semi-final was a more challenging race for Clare and though she did claim a qualifying position, the finish was very close between her and the third place skater. Clare skated a smart race in the final, staying out of trouble when two skaters collided and went sliding towards the mats. She finished in second place with a time of 01:20.143 claiming a Silver medal and the all important 2nd place points. On Saturday, Clare skated in the 2nd quarter-final heat for the 500 m. distance and finished in the 2nd qualifying position with a relatively leisurely pace. The semi-finals were a bit more challenging with Clare finishing in 4th place in her heat with a time of 00:51.782 just missing qualifying for the final by 9/100th of a second. The girls also skated the preliminary rounds for their shortest distance the 333 m. Clare finished second in her quarter-final and 3rd in her semi-final, claiming a spot in the final by being the fastest 3rd place finisher of the two semi-final heats. In the final, Clare found herself boxed in on the inside and was unable to make the pass, so finished in 5th place with a time of 00:35.358 only 5/10th of a second behind 1st place. Clares final distance was the 1000 m. race. Clare prefers distance races, so was anticipating a good result. Clare finished first in her semi-final with a time of 01:49.874. In the final, she bettered that time to 01:44.761 less than 6/100th of a second behind 3rd – to claim a 4th place finish, another Iron medal and points towards the overall championship. Overall, Clare won a Silver medal, an Iron medal and placed 5th in the 333 to finish in 5th place in total points.
  • Aaron participated in the Midget Boys class which had a total of 22 skaters competing. Aaron had an easy skate in the quarter finals easily moving on to the next round. The semi-final was more of a challenge and Aaron ended up getting boxed in by the pack. He finished in 4th place out of a qualifying position (by 15/100th of a second) with a time of 01:19.738. On Saturday, Aaron also skated the 500 m. distance. He easily skated to a qualifying position in the quarter-final with a time of 00:50.921. Unfortunately, the semi-final was not so successful. Aaron fell on a corner about halfway through the race. He was slow getting up and holding his leg. After the race, we found that his blade had scraped off a strip of skin on his leg about inch wide and 7 inches long. Fortunately, there was no actual cut just the scrape and some bruising. With his skin suit taped together, Aaron was ready to show his stuff in the final race of the day the first qualifying round for the 333 m. distance. Aaron was in the first quarter-final and easily claimed a qualifying position, as he did in the semi-final. The final was a challenge and Aaron had a hard time finding a lane in which he could pass. He ended up in 4th with a time of 00:34.027 and won an Iron medal for the distance. In the final race, in the quarter-final, two of the boys fell early in the race and Aaron coasted to an easy finish in a qualifying position. In the semi-final heat, Aaron was in the 2nd qualifying position when he made a risky pass going into the final corner. We were all concerned about whether there would be an impeding call but the referee judged the pass to be clean and Aaron moved on to the final. Aaron was anxious to claim another medal and so, took the lead as early as he could and finished well ahead of the pack to claim a gold medal in a time of 01:41.404. Overall, Aaron finished the competition with an Iron medal and a Gold medal and was tied for 3rd in points. This is Aarons first year in this age class, so he has another year to improve his overall standing as a Midget Boy.
  • Julie skated in the Juvenile Girls class along with 15 other skaters. Julia easily skated to a qualifying position in the 1000 m. quarter finals. The semi-final was much more of a nail biter. Julia finished in 3rd place in her semi-final heat. Only the top two skaters from each heat plus the next fastest skater from either of the semi-final heats would qualify for the final. Fortunately, Julias heat was the faster of the two and Julias time turned out to be faster than the 1st place time in the second semi-final heat. She was going on to the final! The final was a very close race with less than a second separating the top 4 skaters. Julia crossed the line in 4th with a time of 01:42.576 about 1/10th of second behind the 3rd place finisher. This did, however, earn her an Iron medal and 4th place points towards the overall title. Julias first race on Saturday was the quarter-final in the 777 m. distance. She qualified in first position in her heat to move on to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, in the semi-final, Julia finished in the third spot and only 2 skaters would move on to the final. Her time of 01:19.165 was just 11/100th of a second slower than the second place finisher. In the quarter final rounds for the 500 m., Julia qualified in the second place position in another close finish. Colby was close behind crossing the line just 1/10th of a second later. The semi-final was a hard-fought race. Only two people from each semi-final would move on to the final. Julia skated a great race finishing in a time of 00:49.960 her first sub-50 second time in this distance. Unfortunately, even though this was faster than the winning time in the second semi-final and about 1/10th of a second behind the 2nd place finisher, Julia could only watch the finals from the sidelines. The final distance for the Juvenile Girls was the grueling 1500 m. (or metric mile). Julia finished first in her semi-final with a time of 02:49.821 the fastest time recorded by any Juvenile Girl in the competition. However, in the final, she made an iffy pass about half-way through the race and was disqualified for impeding finishing with no time and no points. Overall, Julia won an Iron medal and finished in a tie for 5th place in total points. She, too, is a first year skater in her class, so this is a very good showing.
  • Edwin skated the competition with a very strong group of 22 Juvenile Boys. He skated a great first round, easily claiming the first qualifying spot for the semi-final with a time of 01:38.520. Unfortunately, in the semi-final, he made a bad pass and was disqualified for impeding that is, getting in the way of the skater he was trying to pass. His first day of competition also ended with a disappointment. In the 777 m. race, the boys had to skate an extra round of preliminaries. Edwin easily placed in the first qualifying position in his heat. In the quarter-final, it was not so easy. Edwin placed 3rd with a time of 01:12.532. The only way he would move on to the next round was if his time was one of the two fastest of those who did not place either 1st or 2nd in their heats. Fortunately, Edwins heat was the fastest of any of the others and Edwin claimed the next qualifying position by 2 seconds. Unfortunately, in the semi-final, Edwin fell. He was slow getting up and was nursing the knee that he had hurt at practice just the week before Nationals. As he slowly finished his race, another skater, who had already finished, inadvertently skated onto the track into Edwins path. Both skaters went down hard. Once again, Edwin had to pick himself up, restart and cross the finish line. By the time the heats for the 500 m. distance came around, however, Edwin was ready. He won his heat easily with a time of 00:48.136. In the quarter-final rounds, he skated his fastest lap ever a 9.6 second lap and finished with a time of 00:46.977 the second fastest time of any Juvenile Boy in any round for that distance. Edwin moved on from the semi-final to move on to his first final of the competition. On Sunday, he finished in 2nd place with a time of 00:47.436 to claim a Silver medal. He was also hoping for good results in the 1500, the final race of the competition. In the quarter-final, he and his heat mates skated a comparatively fast time. Edwin finished with a time of 02:35.398 in the 3rd qualifying position. In the semi-final, however, he was skating strong and was about to pass the 3rd place skater (only the top 3 moved on) when they clicked skates and both boys went down. Edwin was disqualified as a result. Overall, Edwin won a Silver medal in the 500 m., skated the 2nd fastest time of any Juvenile Boy in any of the rounds in the 500 m. distance and finished tied for 5th place on total points.
  • Jan started her competition with a really bad cold. The Masters skaters competed early in the morning on Friday and Saturday, completing two distances a day. The first race was the 1000 m. distance. This is one of Jans favorite distances. She got off to a great start and led the pack for the first few laps. Carole Moore passed her with a few laps to go but Jan decided to try to skate a tight track to force Karen to have to make the harder outside pass. This tactic worked and Jan finished in 2nd place with a time of 02:01.273 just 2/10th of a second ahead of the third place finisher. While not a particularly fast time for Jan, it was the 2nd fastest time posted by any of the Master Ladies skaters from any of the age groups (30+). The 500 m., the second distance raced on Friday turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Jan did not get a good start this time and ended up in third. She was very close to the second place skater throughout the race and was planning an inside pass on the exit corner to the finish line. Unfortunately, she slipped going into the second last corner, ended up going wide exiting the corner and was unable to make up the distance for the pass. She ended up in 3rd place by 3/10th of a second with a time of 01:00.176 (again not a personal best time). On Saturday, with the cold even worse and Jan wondering if she would even be able to finish the races, she went to the line for the 777 m. distance. Again, she got off the line first and led the pack for a couple of laps. Carole went by with about 4 laps to go but Jan managed to stay ahead of Karen for the remainder of the race. She finished in 2nd place with a time of 01:32.655 (a personal best) just 5/1000s of a second ahead of Karen. The 1500 m. was the final distance. Jan led the first 7 laps when both Carole and Karen went by. Jan did not have the energy to move up and finished in 3rd place with a time of 03:08.992 (about 3 seconds slower than her personal best but a time consistent with the past couple of seasons and the 5th fastest time of all Master Ladies skaters. Overall, Jan finished with 2 Silver medals; 2 Bronze medals and tied for 2nd place overall on points. Carole Moore won the overall championship winning every race in the Master III Ladies class.

March 9, 2009

  • Seven Puget Sound skaters will participate in the U.S. National Short Track Age Class Championships in Midland, MI. On the boys side, Seoul will skate with the Ponies, Aaron will participate in the Midget class and Edwin will skate in the Juvenile class. We have a girl participating in each of these age classes as well – Saree (Ponies), Clare (Midget) and Julia (Juvenile). Jan rounds out the group and will be skating in the Master III Ladies class. Missing will be David, who is still suffering from a knee problem and Jimmy, who broke his wrist at the practise on Friday afternoon after stepping on a puck and sliding into the boards.

February 23, 2009

  • This past weekend saw the completion of the 2nd Masters International Canadian Open Long Track Championships. While, again, the registration levels were not as high as organizers had hoped, 24 women and 66 men vied for one of the coveted top 3 overall spots in their age classes. Jan skated in the 50 – 54 class which had the largest number of ladies competing. Saturday began with the 500 m. distance. Jan skated one of her fastest opening times all season (00:13.43) but finished with an overall time of 00:51.340. This was the 7th fastest time overall for the ladies and the fastest in her age class. The second distance skated on Saturday for the ladies was the 1500 m. race. Jan was paired up with Keltie Ross (35 – 39 class) and they finished close to each other. Keltie appeared to have taken the win but it turned out that Keltie changed lanes on the home stretch instead of the back stretch and skated an extra inner corner (a shortened distance) which resulted in her being disqualified. Jan finished in 6th place overall with her best time of the season for the 1500 m. – 02:37.61. This time was the fastest time posted by anyone in her age class, so she added to her lead in the overall points.
  • Sunday morning began with the 1000 m. race. Jan was hoping for a good time but did not have a good pairing to challenge her and was feeling tired so ended up finishing the distance in a time of 01:43.40. A bit faster than her finish in Milwaukee but not what she was hoping for. It was, however, good enough for a 7th place overall finish and first place in her age class. The final official race of the competiton was the 3000 m. event. Jan did not have a close pairing and skated a somewhat slow time of 05:42.95. This was the 7th fastest time and the second fastest time in her age grouping. However, it was good enough to maintain her lead in the overall points. The final race of the day was a demonstration 100 m. event. Jan skated a time of 00:13.63 – slightly slower than her opener in the 500 m. the day before. In the 50 – 54 age class, Kathy Kealey claimed the bronze medal; Lyse Fournier from Quebec took the silver and Jan won the gold. Now, it’s back to short track skates and prepartion for the National Short Track Competition scheduled to take place in Midland, Michigan, in the middle of March.

February 16, 2009

  • Jan attended the 2009 Masters International All Around Long Track Championships in Milwaukee over the weekend – skating in the Masters 50 – 54 class.. Although attendance was down significantly from previous years, those who skated had a great time. This is one of the best competitions of the season because it offers lots of racing in a short period of time. Saturday morning races began at 8:00 a.m. with a 500 metre time trial followed by a 1000 metre time trial. Jan was paired with a somewhat slower skater in the 500 m. distance and ended up with a time of 00:51.61. In the 1000 metre race, she was paired with a much faster skater and was hoping to finish with a good time but ended up with a very slow time of 01:44.39.
  • After the time trials the pack style races began. Since the meet was short of volunteers, there were no times kept for the pack style races. The pack style distances included a 300 m., 500 m., 800 m., 1000 m., 1500 m., 3000 m and a “fun” 5000 metre race. Two pack distances were skated on Saturday with the remaining five skated on Sunday between 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Jan won each distance with Donna Eckert following close behind. The 3000 m. distance was a fun race – all of the ladies were combined with the two men skating in the 40 to 49 age class. Suzy Osum (Masters 45-49) finished in first and Jan skated to a very close third place finish just behind one of the guys. Her unofficial time for the race was 05:20. As a result of winning all of the individual distances, Jan was declared the overall champion and awarded the gold medallion. Donna Eckert was second and Mary MacDonald finished in third place overall.

February 10, 2009

  • Under the rules followed by Speedskating Canada, only two of our skaters were old enough to skate at the North American Long Track competition held in Calgary, Alberta, this past weekend. These are now single distance events, so the skaters can choose in which distances they will compete and how many events in total they will skate. Julia and Edwin both skated in the Juvenile C category. On Friday, Julia skated the 500 m. distance finishing in a personal best time of 00:44.00. This placed her 37th amongst the 62 Junior aged competitors (that is, skaters aged 13 to 19) in the distance. The second distance of the day was the 1500 m. event which Julia completed in 02:18.12 – another personal best by about 6 seconds – for a 45th place finish amongst the 59 skaters who tried this distance.. On Friday, the Junior Men skated three distances. In the 500 m. event, Edwin clocked a time of 00:40.63 – a personal best and very close to his pre-competition target time of 00:40.00. This placed Edwin 52 in a field of 72 skaters. Next, the men skated the 1000 m. race. Only 39 Juniors participated in this event. Edwin completed the distance in 01:24.38 – a time consistent with his finish at Nationals last weekend. The final race of the day for Edwin was the 3000. He finished the 7.5 lap event in 04:36.50 – a great time for his first ever 3000 m. race in competition.
  • On Saturday, the Junior Ladies began with the 1000 m. distance. Julia finished in a time of 01:29.34 – about 6 seconds faster than her time at North Americans last season. The Junior Ladies also skated the 3000 m. distance on Saturday but Julia was not registered for that event, so her day was done after the 1000 m. and she could cheer on Edwin and the other U.S. Junior C skaters. Edwin’s skating day started with the 1500 m. race and a disappointment. He ended up being disqualified in the distance and so got no time. The second distance for the Junior Men on Saturday was the gruelling 5000 m. race. Edwin was not registered to skate in this distance, so his day ended early as well.
  • On Sunday, Julia was in the 8th pairing for the second of the 1000 m. races. She completed the race with a time of 01:30.82 – just slightly slower than her time from the day before. She also skated the second 500 m. race as part of the 15th pair and finished in a time of 00:44.63 – again, just a bit slower than her initial time of Friday. Edwin skated in the 18th pairing in the second of the 1000 m. races. His time was 01:22.10 – 2 full seconds faster than his first attempt at this distance on Friday. He also competed in the second of the 500 m. races finishing with a time of 00:41.25.
  • Overall results split by age class are not available to date.

February 2, 2009

  • Puget sound skaters returnedhome late Sunday night – tired but victorious. Julia Nam and Jan Zurcher claimed the overall Championship Medallion in their respective age classes (Junior C Girls and Master III Ladies). Saree Han and Ally DiNardo finished 2nd and 3rd in the Pony girls class overall based on points gathered over the course of 5 distances; Seoul finished in 2nd place overall in the Pony boys class with Kai completing the competition tied for 5th place overall. Clare was 2nd overall in the Midget girls event. Representing us in the Midget boys class were Jimmy Han and David Lee who finished 2nd and 3rd in overall points. Edwin Park and Hanul Lee rounded out our team – competing in the Junior C category. By the end of the competition, Edwin has enough points to finish in 3rd place overall in this highly competitive and talented class of skaters. All the skaters wish to thank Coach Lee for his instruction and dedication to their success.
  • The Pony boys was one of the largest classes in the competition, so for each of their races, they had to skate qualifying rounds in order to skate in the finals for the medals. Seoul, who claims not to have good stamina for the longer distances, came off the line like a shot and skated to a first place finish in his heat – setting a new National Standard for Pony boys at this distance: 01:03.641. Kai, skating in the same semi-final heat, claimed the last qualifying spot. He and Seoul would both compete in the final. In the final, Seoul was edged out of first place by a margin of 13/100ths of a second. He finished with a Silver medal but, as the time of the winner in the final was slower than Seoul’s time in the semi-final, the National standard for this distance now belongs to Seoul. Kai finished in 6th place in the final with a time of 01:08.738 – a very respectable finish for a skater who has another 2 years to skate in this class. The next distance was 400 m. Again, Seoul and Kai were in the same semi-final and both qualified for the final. This time, in the final, Seoul skated to the win – slipping across the finish line just 26/100th of a second ahead of Dominic Bruno (the winner of the 600 m. event). Seoul had won his first gold medal and set another National standard for Pony boys. Kai finished in fourth place with a time of 0:46.606 to claim his first medal – an Iron medal. The 300 m. distance was next. There were 13 boys in the competition, so for the shorter distances, they had to skate two preliminary rounds to make it into the final. Both Seoul and Kain qualified through these rounds. In the final, Seoul finished in 2nd place (0:31.640) – just 1/100th of a second behind Bruno. It’s a good thing there was photo finish. That race was one of the closest of the entire competition! Kai came in with a time of 0:34.190 to finish 6th and claim important points for the overall standing. Saturday ended for the Ponies with the qualifying rounds in the shortest distance – the 200 m. Both Seoul and Kai qualified to skate in the final on Sunday morning. With a fresh start Sunday morning, Seoul led the pack around the track to finish in first place in the 200 m. final with a time of 00:21.760. Kai did not have quite as good a race, finishing last in the final with a time of 00:23.839 – about 2/100ths of a second behind the skater in front of him. That finish moved Kai into 5th place overall. Going into the final distance – 500 m., Bruno – the skater from Wisconsin – and Seoul were tied for first in the overall points. Whichever boy crossed the finish line ahead of the other in the final race would win the championship. Both Seoul and Kai made it through to the final. The boys raced well but Seoul finished just behind Bruno with a time of 00:50.821 to claim another silver medal. Kai crossed the line in fourth with a time of 00:56.041. In all, Seoul collected 2 gold medals and 3 silver to finish a close second in overall points. He also established new time standards for the Pony boys in 3 distances – the 600m., the 400 m. and the 200 m. These are not yet considered records because this is the first time that the National Long Track Age Class Championships have been skated indoors since the age class changes were made two years ago. Kai ended up with two iron medals (4th place) and finished tied for 5th in overall points.
  • In the Pony girls category, Saree and the eventual winner, Hannah Bosman, finished very close in every race – for most of the distances, the difference in their finish times was separated by less than 2/10ths of a second. The Pony girls class was a much smaller group, so the girls skated only finals. The first race was the longest for the Pony girls (all aged 10 and under) – a 600 m. race. Saree (a young Pony with 2 years left to skate in the class) finished in second place (01:01.460) – less than 2/10ths of a second out of first place – to claim the Silver medal. Ally, with a time of 01:06.870 was a solid 3rd place finisher completing the distance about 4 sedonds ahead of the 4th place skater. A Bronze medal was hers. The next distance for the girls, as with the Pony boys, was the 400 m. race. Again, Saree finished in the Silver medal position with a time of 0:40.670 – about 15/100th behind Hannah. Ally had another Bronze medal performance finishing the distance in a time of 0:45.184. The final race on Saturday for the girls was the 300 m. race. Again, Saree finished in second (0:31.351) – less than 1/4 of a second behind Hannah. Ally won her third Bronze medal of the day with a time of 0:33.958. Sunday brought two more distances and two more similar finishes – Saree finished in second place in the 200 m. race with a time of 00:22.108 less than 1/4 second behind Hannah. Ally was third with a time of 00:24.472. The last race for the Pony girls was the 500 m. distance. Saree skated to another close 2nd place finish with a time of 00:50.987. Unfortunately, Ally fell in the final corner of the race to finish last. However, she had enough points to finish in 3rd place overall – collecting 4 Bronze medals through the competition.Saree finished in 2nd place overall and took home 5 Silver medals. These are amazing results for skaters who will be back in this class next year as well.
  • The Midget Boys class has 10 skaters overall – a bit smaller than is typical for a National competition. The first distance skated by the boys was the 600 m. David started the competition out with a bang – posting the fastest qualifying time of all skaters. Jimmy also easily qualified for the final. In that final, Emery Lehmann was the winner with Jimmy close on his heels (0:54.489) and David, who is suffering from a painful right knee condition, was a close 3rd (0:55.246). Jimmy had a Silver medal and David a Bronze after the completion of the first race. The 800 m. race – the longest for Midget skaters was next. Both Jimmy and David made it through the qualifying rounds to the final. This time, Jimmy was the winner (1:12.429) – by a margin of 14/1000ths of a second. Another photo finish and a new National standard for the distance set by Jimmy. David posted the 4th fastest time (01:13.221) to claim the Iron medal for the event. The next race was a short one for these skaters – just 300 m. Jimmy got off to a blazing start and finished in first place with a time of 0:41.068 a new National standard for this age class with Emery just 3/100ths of a second behind. These boys were certainly giving the photo-finish judges something to do! Saturday finished with the qualifying rounds for the 400 m. distance. Both David and Jimmy qualified to skate the final on Sunday with David posting the fastest qualifying time. In the final, Emery Lehman crossed the finished line first with Jimmy (2nd – 00:36.693) and David (3rd – 00:38.065) both close behind. The tension mounted. Jimmy and Emery each with two first place finishes and two second place finishes were tied in overall points. The final distance – the 600 m. – would decide the overall championship. It was a battle to the end and another photo finish with Emery edging out the win by just 4/100ths of a second. Jimmy was 2nd (00:45.259) and David, still fighting pain in his knee was 3rd (00:45.703). Overall, in the competition, Jimmy claimed 2 Gold and 3 Silver medals plus set two new national standards – in the 800 m. and 300 m.. David returned home with 4 Bronze and one Iron medal.
  • Clare was our only representative in a class of eight Midget girls. As with the Midget boys, the 600 m. race was first. Clare, who prefers longer distances, finished in second in this sprint with a time of 0:54.776 – just half a skate blade (14/1000s of a second) behind Sarah Warren. Yet another photo-finish which was to be the story between these two for the remainder of the competition. In the 800 m. event – the longest – Clare shone through to win her first Gold medal of the competition with a time of 1:13.369 – just 1/4 of a second ahead. The girls skated semi-finals in the 300 m. distance. Clare qualified for the final with the second fastest time but in the final, did not get a good start and ended the race in third place to take the Bronze medal with Sarah Warren taking second place and Mary Kate Hodor claiming the Gold. These girls all qualified in the 400 m. semi-finals. Going into Sunday, Clare was still in the running for the overall title. In the final of the 400 m. Sarah was victorious with Clare crossing the line behind her by less than 6/100ths of a second with a time of 00:38.13. There was one more distance – the 500 m. Clare could still win the overall championship title if she finished in first and Sarah finished in third place or lower. Clare did everything she could and crossed the line first with a time of 00:45.881. But Sarah was second, close on her heels and claimed the overall title. However, Clare did very well – taking home two Gold, two Silver and one Bronze medal and setting two national standards for the Midget Girls class – one in the 800 m. and one in the 500 m. distance..
  • We had two skaters participating in the Junior C Boys category (skaters aged 13 and 14) – Edwin and Hanul competed in this class of 13 skaters (one of the largest in the competition). The first race was the 1000 m. distance. Hanul skated in the first semi-final and posted a time of 01:38.357 – a good time but not enough to move on to the final. Edwin won his semi-final crossing the line 3/10ths of a second in front of the next finisher. In the final, Edwin finished in the Bronze medal position with a time of 01:26.930 – about 4/10ths of a after the first place finisher (Andrew Astalos). The 800 m. event was next. Hanul was in the first semi-final and just missed qualifying by half a second with a time of 01:13.614. Edwin qualified in second place in his semi-final. Again, the results in the final were similar with Andrew finishing first and Edwin in 3rd (1:07.502). In the next event – the short 300 m. race – the skaters had to qualify through quarter finals and semi-finals. Edwin made it through both preliminary rounds and finished in 3rd place in the final with a time of 0:26.833. Hanul made it into the semi-finals but finished just short of qualifying for the final with a time of 00:29.412. The boys then faced one more set of preliminary races before the end of the Saturday racing – quarter finals in the 500 m. Both Hanul and Edwin qualified for the semi-finals but Hanul failed to claim a spot in the final finishing in the semi-final in 6th place with a time of 00:47.406. Edwin would skate the final on Sunday morning. In that final, he finished in 3rd place to claim yet another Bronze medal with a time of 00:42.435 – a respectable time for Milwaukee ice and less than 6/10ths of a second behind first place. The final event for the Junior C Boys was the 1500. Hanul finished 5th in his semi-final with a time of 02:34.811. His competition was over for this year. But he has another year in this age class. Edwin, Andrew and Luke Tweddale skated a very close race. Edwin again finished in third with a time of 02:11.986 which was less than 2/10ths of a second behind the first place finisher – Andrew. Edwin came home with some great times and 5 Bronze medals.
  • Julie represented Puget Sound in the Juvenile C Girls category. This was one of the smaller classes comprising only 6 skaters so the races were all finals. Shelby Comeau skated to first place finishes in the first two events with Julia skating right behind her. Julia’s times in the 1000 m. was 01:35.822; and, in the 800 m. was 01:16.893 – another photo finish – just 6/100ths of a second behind Shelby. In the third distance of the day, the 300 m., Julia was revved up and crossed the line in first with a time of 00:28.957 – this time with Shelby on her heels. Sunday brought 2 more distances and an opportunity for Julia. In the 500 m., Jaclyn Rowe took first place and Julia came in second (00:46.004) with Shelby finishing in third place. The stage was set. If Julia placed ahead of Shelby in the final race, she would win the overall title. The final race was 3 and 3/4 laps – the 1500. Julia skated a smart race and crossed the line in first place (02:35.869) just slightly ahead of Shelby. Julia ended the weekend with the Championship medallion, the coveted Championship penquin, two Gold medals, three Silver medals and two new national standards in her name. In addition, Julia is a first year Juvenile C skater, so has another year in this age class.
  • The other Puget Sound skater in the competition was Jan, skating in the Master III Ladies class. While there were four skaters registered in the class, only three skated. Jan and her closest competitor – Donna Eckert – were fairly evenly matched but Jan ended up leading at the finish line in each of the five distances. The first race was the first of two 1500 m. races. Jan led all 3 and 3/4 laps to finish with a somewhat disappointing time of 02:46.120. Donna finished in second and Dianne Crossfield, a relative newcomer to the sport, finished a distant third. In the 800 m. distance, Jan led off the start line and held the lead to the finish completing the distance in a time of 01:22.764. Next came the 1000 m. distance. The finish time of 01:44.566 was a bit slower than Jan would have liked but good enough for the win. Sunday saw two races for the Masters III Ladies. The 500 m. was first. Jan got a great start and crossed the line with a time of 00:50.950 – her fastest time of the season and 3 seconds ahead of the 2nd place finisher. The final race of the competition was the second 1500 m. race. Jan decided to focus on technique instead of trying to go fast. Again, she led the entire distance with Donna close behind but tried to concentrate just on the skating technique and keeping the tempo reasonable. Although the focus was not on speed, the time was faster than the day before – 02:42.454 – and another personal best for the season. Jan finished the competition in first place overall so took home the Championship medallion, the coveted penquin and 5 Gold medals.

January 27, 2009

  • Reminder to all skaters: There will be no practices on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday this week due to the fact that many skaters along with Coach Lee will be in Milwaukee for the U.S. National Age Class Long Track Championships.

January 26, 2009

  • Eleven Puget Sound skaters will be going to Milwaukee in the middle of this week to participate in the U.S. National Age Class Long Track Speedskating Championships. Kai, Seoul, Ali and Saree will participate in the Pony class; Clare, David and Jimmy in the Midget class; Julie, Edwin and Hanul will compete in the Juvenile class and Jan will skate in the Masters III age group. Overall, we have one of the largest contingents of skaters in the event this year – making up about 10% of the total entrants. Everyone here wishes the skaters good luck in the event.