The 2016 Long Track Fall World Cup Qualifier started today from the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Skaters are competing to earn start positions on the US Speedskating Long Track Fall World Cup Team for the first four ISU World Cup events this fall that begin on Nov. 11-13 in Harbin, China.
The first races of the day were the women’s and men’s 500m (1) as Heather Bergsma (High Point, N.C.) and Kelly Gunther (Clinton Township, Mich.) were the only women skaters to break 40 seconds. Bergsma had the fastest time at 39.17.
Milwaukee’s own Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, Wisc.) paved the way for the men with a 35.27. Fellow Olympian Jonathan Garcia (Houston, Texas) and two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis (Chicago, Ill.) had the second and third fastest times of the morning 35.92 and 36.25, respectively.
Team USA has four ISU World Cup 500m quota spots for the women and three for the men, which will be determined by the fastest individual 500m time from the two 500m attempts. The second 500m race will be on Saturday, October 15.
Racing continues on Saturday, October 15 at 9 a.m. CT with the women and men’s 500m (2) and the 1500m. For full race results, click here.
Highlights from Day 1 (October 14)
- Heather Bergsma skated a 39.17 in the 500m (1), followed by Kelly Gunther (39.84) and Jerica Tandiman (40.13).
- Mia Manganello skated the fastest 3000m of the day, going 4:14.46…the second-fastest time went to Carlijn Schoutens (4:16.79), a personal best.
- Four-time Olympian KC Boutiette (Tacoma, Wash.) edged out 2014 Olympian Emery Lehman (Oak Park, Ill.) by .19 seconds for the top spot in the men’s 5000m…Boutiette went 6:43.37, while Lehman went 6:43.56.
Quotes from National Team Sprint Head Coach Matt Kooreman
- Mitch [Whitmore] executed some of the technical points today that he needed to do – power and composure – that we talked about before racing this morning.
- Heather [Bergsma] has had limited time on the ice before getting out to Milwaukee, so it’s important for her to get back to the feel and rhythm of being on the ice. She’ll use this weekend to her advantage and with each race will get back to her elite self.