You’d never know Kristen Santos was recovering from a back injury. The 2019 U.S. Short Track Champion jumped into the 1000m quarterfinals where a last minute strategic move put her into the semis where she set a 1000m U.S. National Record with a time of 1:28.485, and moved into the B Final. The new time breaks the record set by Olympic medalist Katherine Reutter in November 2016 (1:28.762).
In her 1000m semifinal race, Santos tried to pass the top two ladies, but finished her heat in 3rd place for an overall 8th place finish.
“Today gave me a lot of confidence back that I needed,” Santos said. “I wasn’t really sure where I was at and definitely after taking a month off I didn’t feel fully like I was ready to do this.”
With strategic racing, Aaron Tran won his 1000m rep. rounds, moving into the quarterfinals with teammate Ryan Pivirotto. Tran and Pivirotto both skated fast and smart, but did not move into the 1000m semis. “They’re both so close,” said U.S. National Head Coach Wilma Boomstra. “They just made some mistakes.”
After smoking the competition in the 500m rep. quarterfinals, Thomas Hong fell in his 500m rep. semifinal and did not advance. The women also struggled in the 500m. After winning her 500m (2) rep. quarterfinal event, Maame Biney finished third in her 500m rep. semi and was not able to qualify for the next round. Corinne Stoddard put up a good fight in her 500m rep. semi, but finished in second place behind Poland’s Kamila Stormowska.
“Everything happens for a reason and it’s okay to have a bad weekend. I was going to say day, but it’s been the past three days,” said Biney. “It’s okay to have a bad weekend then reset mentally every single day. I’ll take that not only into this season, but every season after, because I won’t always be amazing.”
The U.S. Ladies and Men’s Relay teams both competed in the B Finals with the ladies finishing their race in second place behind Russia, landing in sixth overall. The Men’s Relay Team was leading for the first half of the race but fell and ended in seventh overall.
With the first ISU Short Track World Cup under their belts, Team USA is ready to head to Montreal next weekend for the second world cup and another chance to prove themselves to the world.
“They finally believe they can compete with the best in the world,” Boomstra said. “Now they just have to do it.”
Ladies 3000m Relay – 6th
Men’s 3000m Relay – 7th
Kristen Santos – 1000m – 8th
Ryan Pivirotto – 1000m – 15th
Aaron Tran – 1000m – 16th