The skies were clear today as racing began with the 500 meter semis for the junior men and women. In a tough race with Erin Jackson and Alex Harris in the same semi the two girls battled together. In the end Erin would be one of the two that went on to the final. Eban Jackson and Michael Ringer were in separate semis but Eben would be the only one of the two that would move on. During the finals Erin placed second and Eban placed third. Eban is a first time world teamer and this is his first world medal.
Will Bowen and Joey Mantia were up for the 500 meter in the senior men’s division. Joey found himself boxed in and did not make it out of his heat. Bowen moved on when his heat came up and placed 2nd in the final. This is Bowen’s second medal of the championships. William seems to be having a very good world’s this year.
Sophie Webb and Samantha Goetz were up for the junior ladies in the 20,000 meter elimination. Again both were battling hard and while Samantha was making her world’s debut it would not last long. Getting tangled up with another skater Samantha fell and was out of the race. Several laps later, Sophie would meet the same fate and was seen later getting doctored up by the trainer. Tough break for the junior ladies today. Justin Mannon and Mario Valencia would once again represent the USA in a tight race to the finish in the 20,000 meter elimination. The boys stayed in without getting eliminated. This was quite a challenge as there were many falls and crashes that were near misses for the United States. Colombia would come in one and two with Korea third. Justin placed 4th and Mario placed 5th.
When it was the senior’s time to race the weather was holding out nicely and all skaters were looking great. With blue umbrellas all over the venue to protect from the sun (these were given out for free) Briana went on a break with 3 other skaters and picked up three points. Unfortunately this would not be enough to place. Joey picked up several points in his race with Michael Cheek earning him a silver medal. By this time the sun was beating down hard, which is something that we have not seen much of since we have been here. Because the evening session was sold out, the officials called a break until 6:00 pm so that all spectators could be present.
Upon arrival to the venue for the relay events the crowds were pouring in. Under dim lighting, reminiscent of a high school football game, the heats were underway. Alex Harris, Megan Gillis and Erin Jackson blew through their heat with what seemed like great ease. Things went pretty much the same way for junior men, Mario Valencia, Justin Mannon and Michael Ringer. Joey Mantia, William Bowen and Michael Cheek would also find themselves in the final of the senior men relay with great ease.
For some reason tonight seemed to have even more spectators than the track portion. There were even many “spectator hopefuls” standing around the venue hoping for the opportunity to get in. This of course brought a great deal of security with it. Everywhere we turned there was a security guard, but there was a heavy concentration of them at the entrance.
The junior ladies relay final would give Megan Gillis her first medal of world. She is now the happy owner of a silver medal. The three girls fought hard and Megan skated her first world’s relay as if she has been skating at this level all of her life. An unfortunate fall kept the junior men’s relay team from medaling this time around.
Joey Mantia was simply UNBELIEVABLE as the senior men’s relay progressed. The team went back and forth with all three skating their hardest. It was in the final lap that the world would see something that we have never seen before. Upon the tag, Joey was in 4th place and the 3 in front of him, New Zealand, France and Colombia, were spread out and very far in front. Colombia was in the lead and in front of Joey by almost 100 meters. This is where we saw Joey excite and entertain in the way only he can. He passed third place by the second corner. Next, Joey knew he needed to catch the next guy and by time he made it down the straight away he had passed up again for second place. Upon coming around for the last turn he was passing first and came across the line with the crowd chanting USA, USA, USA.
This ended the road portion of the 2009 World Championships. It is an amazing thing for the USA to end both the track portion and the road portion with the United States of America’s National Anthem. All the skaters need to do now is the marathon which this year is split with juniors on one day and seniors on the next.