By Gary R. Blockus | Oct. 13, 2017, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
Mitch Whitmore competes in the men's 500-meter at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships on Feb. 10, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea.

 

Two-time U.S. Olympian Mitch Whitmore set the fastest time in the world this season in the men’s 500-meter #2 at the 2017 U.S. Fall Long Track World Cup Qualifiers at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah.

Whitmore went 34.75, short of his U.S. record of 34.19, to win the event with the season-best time. Jonathan Garcia, Whitmore’s teammate for a historic U.S. first gold medal in last season’s team sprint at a world cup Heerenveen, Netherlands, finished second in 34.89.

Kimani Griffin, the third member of that gold-medal sprint team, finished third in 35.31.

In the first men's 500, the trio finished in the same order, with times of 35.04 (Whitmore), 35.19 (Garcia) and 35.24 (Griffin).

In the women’s 500 #1, two-time Olympian Heather Bergsma, who is coming off two 2017 world titles, continued her U.S. dominance since the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, winning in 37.88.

2014 Olympian Sugar Todd was second in 38.40, while fellow Olympian Brittany Bowe was third in 38.43

In the second 500, Todd and Bowe switched placements. Bowe, the only skater to win three individual medals at the 2016 World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships, finished second in 38.06. Bowe missed most of last season due to concussion symptoms. Todd was third in 38.41.

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Mia Manganello won the women’s 3,000 in 4:07.27, followed by Carlijn Schoutens in 4:09.15 and Petra Acker in 4:12.78. Schoutens, who was born in the U.S. but grew up in the Netherlands, joined the U.S. team in 2014.

Emery Lehman, the youngest U.S. male to compete in Sochi, won the men’s 5,000 in 6:28.31, followed by 47-year-old KC Boutiette, a four-time Olympian who finished in 6:33.99. Ian Quinn took third in 6:37.13.

Saturday’s finals include the men’s and women’s 1,500, the women’s 5,000m and the men’s 10,000. Sundays races include the men’s and women’s 1,000 and the mass start.

Skaters are vying for spots on the U.S. world cup team this fall in the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Utah. Those stops will also determine the men’s and women’s quota spots for Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.