The Future is bright for Team USA as Short Track Season Comes to a Close

By Rebecca Reza | March 10, 2019, 6:51 p.m. (ET)

It’s a wrap! The 2018/2019 season came to a close Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria, as the World Short Track Championships concluded with Team USA earning six top-20 finishes. The team has had a season of growth and personal bests for many of the young skaters.

Kristen Santos (Fairfield, Conn.) reached the B finals in the Ladies 1500m, finishing in sixth place. Olympic Champion Min Jeong Choi (KOR) won the 1500m after her rival, Suzanne Schulting (NED) was eliminated in the semi-finals.

The Ladies 500m finals proved to be a challenge for Team USA, as Santos and Olympian Maame Biney (Reston, Va.) reached the quarterfinals but did not qualify for the semis. In a dramatic finale, Lara van Ruijven became the first World Champion in the 500m for the Netherlands. Van Ruijven crashed in the final turn, before a penalty was called on Martina Valcepina (ITA), awarding van Ruijven the championship.

On the men’s side, Olympian Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) competed in both the 500m and the 1500m, reaching the semis in the 1500m but just missing the quarterfinals in the 500m. Olympian Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.) also competed in both, but missed the opportunity to advance.

Santos and Tran competed in the quarterfinals for the 1000m, but were not able to advance to the semis. The team did not have skaters competing in any of the relay heats on Sunday.

Team USA is set for several weeks off for recovery before returning to summer training in May.