Rain is in the forecast again today as the team is at the track competing in their 1000 meter heats and semis for the juniors and the 500 meter heats and semis for the seniors. The great thing about Colombia is the fact that this competition is televised across the country. Not only that, the local schools bring their students to watch the races in the morning. Yesterday, over 100 elementary students were on a “field trip” from the Institucion Educativa Santo Tomass de Aguino. They were all dressed in maroon uniforms and were cheering their country on even when they weren’t skating.
For those that may have heard, Nicole Lloyd has been sick for the past several days. We have taken her to the clinic twice and Tammie escorted her to a hospital in Medellin. She has tonsillitis but was given antibiotics and pain killers. She has not been to the track and has had very little contact with the other skaters even though she is not contagious. She has not been left alone as either myself, Ross, Tammie, Chris or another adult has stayed with her. As of this morning she seems to be feeling better and the hope is that she can rejoin her team. Whether or not she will have the energy to skate remains to be seen. She did have a high fever that liked to rear its ugly head again. This can take a lot out of anyone, but for a skater competing at the world championships; it can mean the difference between racing and not racing. For those of you at home who are wondering, Nicole is at the forefront of our minds and the first thing the staff members do when they get back from the track is check on her. We are all hopeful that we will see her on skates but right now, her tonsils are in control.
The senior men 500 meter semi was postponed until the evening due to rain but both Joey and Will made it out. Darian is in the final this evening for the junior Ladies 1000 meter. Mario will be up in the same distance for the junior men and Erin and Sara will both be in the final for the senior ladies.
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Alyssa Franklin, who was the second Team USA skater in today’s 1000 meter for the junior ladies. I asked her if the World Championships was everything she expected. She replied “yes and even more.” When asked how she felt about the long race she skated last night she said “I know what I need to do for any long races on the road.” I also asked her what advice she had for any skaters who were considering trying out for the team in the future and her answer was simply “train a lot all year.” Alyssa says that she is having a lot of fun and is looking forward to her mother arriving this evening.
In true world’s fashion, this night was full of bumps, missed calls, confusion and awesome racing. At some point you might think you are at a roller derby match instead of inline racing. In the senior ladies 15k elimination race, Nicole Begg from New Zealand was “head butted and we could all go on and on providing examples of this.” In the states we all think of pushing, pulling or elbowing a part of these longer races but it seems that at the world level there is just so much more to this.
The good news is that the USA picked up 5 medals tonight. Joey pulled off Silver in the 300 and Will received Bronze. Erin Jackson won a Silver medal in the Senior Ladies 500. Another near fall at the end of the Junior men 1000 meter took Mario from being in a position to win to a Bronze. Joey then went on to win to senior men’s 500 meter.
Starting line-up for Sunday:
Sr Ladies 1000 meter: Sara Sayasane, Samantha Goetz
Sr Ladies Relay: Sara Sayasane, Briana Kramer, Erin Jackson
Sr Men Relay: Harry Vogel, Will Bowen, Joey Mantia
Sr Men 1000 meter: Keith Carroll and TBD
Jr Ladies 500: Hailey Leech, Kimi Goetz
Jr Ladies Relay: Darian O’Neil, Kimi Goetz, Hailey Leech
Jr Men Relay: Drew Valinsky, Mario Valencia, Brandon Hall
Jr Men 500: Mario Valencia, Eben Jackson