It was Kristen Santos’s month. At the beginning of November, she set a 1000m national record at the first world cup in Salt Lake City. To end the month, she won bronze in her first-ever individual world cup medal in the Ladies 1000m event at the ISU Short Track World Cup 3 in Nagoya, Japan.
“It feels really good to finally get an individual medal,” she said. “It definitely built up a lot of confidence for me going into the rest of the season, which is something I really needed. Hopefully, I can keep building off of this medal and continue to make it onto the podium.”
The medal was even more significant because Kristen suffered a back injury earlier this fall; an injury that put her entire season in jeopardy.
“I’ve been back on the ice for about two months now,” she said. “I feel like I still have even more to improve and I’m making gains every day, so I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Andrew Heo also had a first-ever world cup experience as he advanced to an A Final. Heo skated the 1500m A Final and finished just off the podium in fourth place. Over the last month, his confidence and skill have improved and this weekend it definitely showed.
“It was amazing to just be there,” he said. “It’s great knowing that I’m able to compete with the best in the world and that I beat a previous world champion and several Olympians to get to the A Final. It’s also crazy to think that I was fourth in that distance.”
“Andrew was phenomenal, skating so smart and strong,” said National Head Coach Wilma Boomstra. “He positioned himself great. It was very impressive to be in an A Final already at this point.”
The women of Team USA reached the A Final in the Ladies 3000m Relay. Santos, Corinne Stoddard, Maame Biney, Julie Letai and April Shin all skated the relay heats that got them to the medal round. During the A Final, the team was penalized but finished the event fifth overall.
The Mixed Relay team skated the B Final, finishing in third place and seventh overall, while the men competed in the Men’s 5000m relay quarterfinals, but received a yellow card for two penalties in the race.
Stoddard qualified for the 1500m B Final where she ended in seventh place and 14th overall. Ryan Pivirotto had several great rounds in his events, but didn’t make it into the Finals this weekend.
“The best things the skaters who are performing well are doing, is they are putting in work and grit and have their mind in the right focus,” Boomstra said. “My focus at this point is to get the whole team performing to their full potential.”
The team travels to Shanghai, China, for ISU Short Track World Cup 4, Dec. 6-8. Subscribe to NBC Sports Gold to watch the action live!
Kristen Santos – 1000m – Bronze
Andrew Heo – 1500m (2) – 4th
Ladies 3000m Relay – 5th
Mixed Relay – 7th
Ryan Pivirotto – 1000m – 13th
Corinne Stoddard – 1500m (1) – 14th
Maame Biney – 1000m – 17th
Ryan Pivirotto – 1500m (2) – 17th
Maame Biney – 500m – 18th