The 2018 FISU World University Speedskating Championships were held March 21-25 in Minsk, Belarus. The Championships featured athletes ages 18-26 who are enrolled, at least part-time, at an institution of higher learning in a degree seeking program. Coach Lisa Hambly (Twin Cities Speedskating) led a team of four athletes during the four-day competition. These young athletes included Lukas Anderson (ASE), Alex Brewer (Direct), Fletcher Codd (Adirondack Speedskating) and Ilsa Shobe (Twin Cities Speedskating).
In the words of University Championships Coach Hambly, “The weekend went very well. The kids had a great time and it was a great learning experience for all. The skaters were given an opportunity to compete at a high-level international competition. This competition is a great stepping stone for skaters to get to the next step in their skating career. It gives the athletes an opportunity to learn about proper warm-up, technique and also gives them a different view on the sport. They were able to learn from watching the other athletes as well as talking with them which in turn sparked new friendships.”
Events like this that expose the next generation of athletes to international competition are important. As Brewer stated, “The people of Belarus were great. The event went very smoothly and I had a lot of fun hanging out with the other teams and volunteers.”
Nearly all of the athletes had little to no international experience and Coach Hambly was impressed with their ability to handle the pressure of competing on a world stage. Hambly said, “As a coach, I was honored to be a part of this experience with the athletes. They came in not having much if any international experience. Some athletes would buckle under the pressure and cringe but the amazing group of athletes I was with did not falter at all. They came to the rink each day prepared and ready to skate and compete. Their attitude and commitment throughout the week was amazing and I can’t thank the skaters enough for making the World University Champs an experience I will treasure!”
2018 FISU World University Speedskating Championship Highlights:
Lukas Anderson, a student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wisc.), competed in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m distances as well as the Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint events. His highest individual placement was 18 in the 5000m.
Alex Brewer, a student at Long Beach City College (Long Beach, Calif.), competed in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m distances as well as the Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint events. His highest individual placement was fifth in the Mass Start.
Fletcher Codd, a student at Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City, Utah), competed in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m as well as the Team Sprint and Team Pursuit. His highest individual performance was 20 in the 500m.
Ilsa Shobe, a student at the University of Minneapolis (Minneapolis, Minn.), competed in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m and the Mass Start. As the only girl, she was unable to participate in the team events. Her highest individual placement was 13 in the 3000m.