The young and steadily improving US short track speedskating team enjoyed a culminating moment at World Cup 4 on Sunday as the US Ladies’ 3000m relay team captured bronze in the final.
The race at the Crown Indoor Stadium in Shanghai, China, saw the team of Olympian Maame Biney (Reston, Virginia), Corinne Stoddard (Lake Tapps, Washington), Kristen Santos (Fairfield, Connecticut) and Julie Letai (Medfield, Massachusetts) finish strong to capture their teams’ first relay medal of the season. They finished in a time of 4:13.280.
“It’s really fun to medal with the team,” Santos said. “This is the first time in years that the girls team has medaled in the relay, so it feels really good to finally be making moves up in the rankings. Our goal is to be top-8 so we have a women’s relay team at world champs and after two A finals these past two weeks, I think we are solidifying that goal.”
Though Team USA did not win any other medals in Shanghai, they finished just off the podium in several events and continue to look stronger each week.
Biney skated to the semifinals in the 500m, eventually moving into the B finals where she finished second in a time of 44.450, her best individual finish of the season.
Stoddard qualified for the 1500m semifinal, but did not place after receiving a penalty. She took first in a 1000m repechage quarterfinal and finished third in the semifinal.
Santos, who won bronze in the 1000m last week in Nagoya, Japan, took a strong fourth place in the B final in Shanghai in that event, in a time of 1:44.900.
Stoddard, Santos and Olympians Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) and Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.) advanced to the A finals in mixed relay, but did not place after a penalty.
For the men, Andrew Heo (Warrington, Penn.) skated up through the repechage rounds to qualify for the 1500m B final, where he finished fifth. Tran earned his way into the 1500 semifinals, but was stopped when accessed a penalty.
Olympian Ryan Pivirotto (Ann Arbor, Michigan) competed well and qualified for the 1500m rep. semifinal, finishing fourth in the 1000m quarterfinals.
Hong qualified for the 500 meter rep. semi but did not advance. Jonathan So (Reston, Virginia) competed for Team USA in the 500m but did not advance.
The US men’s 5000m relay team of Tran, Heo, Pivirotto and Hong advanced to the quarterfinals but did not qualify beyond that race.
After a grueling start to their season (four World Cups in six weeks), team USA returns to the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns to prepare for the US Short Track Championships/Am Cup 2, Jan. 3-5, 2020. Team USA will resume World Cup competition in February with events in Germany and the Netherlands.
Ladies 3000m Relay – Bronze
Mixed Relay – 4th
Maame Biney – 500m (1) – 7th
Kristen Santos – 1000m – 9th
Men’s 5000m Relay – 10th
Maame Biney – 500m (2) – 12th
Andrew Heo – 1500m – 12th
Ryan Pivirotto – 1000m – 16th
Corie Stoddard – 1500m – 20th
“It feels great [to win bronze] after losing the bronze yesterday in the mixed relay. Super happy to be on the podium at the world cup.” – Corie Stoddard
“It feels really good to get our first ladies relay medal of the season. It’s crazy to think that we even made it that far but I’m really happy that we did! Things happen in short track but I feel like being there in the right moment is also part of short track.” – Maame Biney
“We are not there yet but we came a long way from last season. We will take this though after what happened to us in the mixed relay.” – National Head Coach Wilma Boomstra
“I feel like I did improve a few things [in the 1500m] but there is still much to improve upon.” –Aaron Tran