US Short Track Championships bring the best skaters in the country to the Utah Olympic Oval

Jan. 05, 2019, 4:07 p.m. (ET)

Several members of the 2018 Olympic Short Track Team faced off during the U.S. Short Track Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval. The first event, the 1500m, was an aggressive race with eight men and seven ladies vying for titles in the A Final, hoping to earn a spot on the final world cup team of the season.       

After the dust settled, 2018 Olympian Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) and Kristen Santos (Fairfield, Conn.) earned the 1500m National Title. Adam Callister (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Aaron Heo (Warrington, Pa.) finished second and third, respectively for the men, and Corinne Stoddard (Lake Tapps, Wash.) and Hailey Choi (Oakton, Va.) skated to second and third for the ladies. (Because of her age, Choi is not eligible for a world cup spot.)

Fast skating in the Ladies 500m event as 2018 Olympian and U.S. Junior Short Track Champion Maame Biney (Reston, Va.) raced to a first place finish. Stoddard and Santos finished in second and third in a close race. The Men’s 500m event brought 2018 Olympian Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.), Jonathan So (Reston, Va.), Tran and Heo to the A Final, with Hong winning the race and the national title. He was followed by Tran and So in second and third.

In the final event, the mixed relay, the team of Hong, Callister, Santos and Danielle Amos took the top spot. Currently, the overall Men's standings are: Aaron Tran, Adam Callister and Thomas Hong. The Ladies overall standings are: Kristen Santos, Corinne Stoddard and Maame Biney.

Racing continues tomorrow at the U.S. Short Track Championships with the Men’s and Ladies 1000m, and the Men’s and Ladies Relay events. The event starts at 8:50 a.m. (MST) at the Utah Olympic Oval. Livestreaming and Live Results are available.

For complete results, click here.

Photos Courtesy of Tom DiNardo.

Quotes:

“I was trying to control the race,” said Aaron Tran. “When there’s eight people in the race, you don’t want to get suck in the back when the pace picks up. Whenever I felt someone moving up, I’d accelerate my speed and time my pass with their pass so I’d always be in the front of the pack.”

“In the 1500, I actually didn’t feel that great,” said Kristen Santos. “I won, which was great, but I felt really sluggish. Obviously, I’m really happy that I won. I was glad I decided to go up front early.”

“Going into the 500, I had a little bit of pressure on me,” said Thomas Hong. “I did pretty poorly in the 1500. I fell. But even before I fell, the race just wasn’t working out for me. I was feeling a little under the weather so I was playing it a little conservative in that race. After the 1500m, I knew I had to win the 500 and thankfully that worked out for me.”

“My 1500 would have been good if I didn’t get DQd and I just skated safely instead of dangerously,” said Maame Biney. “I’m a little competitive. But in my 500, I had to put aside the fact that I got disqualified, because things like that get in my head. I had to force myself to only think about the 500, and only think about my starts and keep going.”

“The 1500 was a little sketchy,” said Corinne Stoddard. “With two laps to go, I lost my position. Then me and Maame bumped into each other, it was just a really crazy race. In the 500, I had a really good start and I just tried to hang on to Maame.”

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, because I feel like I got lucky in that race,” said Hailey Choi. “I saw Maame [Biney] and Cori [Stoddard] fighting it out and I tried to stay away from all that. I stood behind them and waited, and it worked out.”