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USS Names the 2021 Long Track Development Skaters of the Year

April 27, 2021, 6:26 p.m. (ET)

Name: Will Silk
Age: 15
Club: High Altitude Speedskating Club
Coach: Dave Silk


Who inspires you in speed skating?
My dad Dave, and Joey Mantia. My dad inspires me because he knows what it takes to skate at a high level.


Where will you be in ten years?
I hope to still be skating and living out my dream.


What other sports do you play?
In the summer I race cross country mountain bikes, wake board in the winter snowboard. 


What are your other hobbies?
I hunt with my dad, fish, and camp with family and friends.


How did you get involved in speed skating?
From my dad and from school races.


What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Would be being named Jr. development skater of the year or qualifying for Jr. Nationals. 


What is your favorite subject in school?
Science


What are your goals for speed skating in the next few years?
My goals are to make the Jr. World Team


What is your favorite exercise during dryland training?
Low walks and slide board


What’s your favorite post-race snack?
Oreos


Where is your favorite place to race?
Salt Lake City and Butte


What’s your craziest hidden talent?
Doing a front flip on the trampoline 

 



Name: Nastasja Radulovic
Age: 15
Club: Wisconsin Speed Skating Club
Coach: Mike Witty


Who inspires you in speed skating?
Mia Manganello-Kilburg is really inspirational. She's absolutely the sweetest and as a more distance skater myself, I really look up to her. Other skaters that I love watching are Irene Schouten and Femke Kok. I think that the most influential people are the skaters around me and those that I see at competitions. Being surrounded by other talented individuals continues to push me to work harder at the sport. 


Where will you be in ten years?
Like every skater, I hope to be on the world team competing at international competitions. Competing in the Olympics would be a dream. Additionally, I value my education just as much, so finishing a college degree is something that I plan to accomplish. 


What other sports do you play?
Besides speed skating, I enjoy inlining, track, volleyball, and Serbian folk dance. As much as I love skating, I think it's definitely important to participate in various sports. Plus, it's a fun way to keep me active when I'm not training for LT.


What are your other hobbies?
Between school and sports, I love all things art-related. Specifically watercolor and drawing. 


How did you get involved in speed skating?
I started out with quads at a nearby roller rink. I did that for a while, before we received an advertisement for learn to skate at The Pettit. I joined the club, and for a while I skated both ST and LT. I’ve been obsessed with the sport since. More recently, I found myself really attached to Long Track.


What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment has to be this acknowledgement from US Speedskating. It's really rewarding and exciting to see all the work I put into the past season pay off. I'm beyond grateful for this opportunity and it will certainly encourage me to work harder this summer and season. Thank you!


What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite classes are either AP Chemistry or English. While AP Chemistry is a demanding class, I love the curriculum and have never been bored in class. As for English, I enjoy literary analysis, writing, and connecting a meaning to whatever it may be that we are reading about. As lame as I may sound, I get excited to write english class essays. 


What are your goals for speed skating for the next few years?
Regarding more future aspirations, I think making the Jr. National Team would be exciting and is a big goal of mine. I plan to keep training hard and buckling down these upcoming years to really get at it. 


What is your favorite exercise during dryland training?
Mr. Witty would agree with me that I am absolutely fanatic about low walks. I couldn't get enough and am more than fortunate that I get to low walk all summer long! Grinding up my shoes on all types of surfaces is just the more fun. 


What's your favorite post-race snack?
I typically don't snack after my races. I'll wait until I'm home to eat something home-made and fresh. However, I love eating dates before and between races to keep my energy up.


Where is your favorite place to race?
I've only skated in Milwaukee and Roseville, so I can confidently say that The Pettit is my favorite. While the concrete walls may get repetitive, it's still a place I will always consider home. 


What's your craziest hidden talent?
It's not necessarily hidden, but I speak 3 languages (Bulgarian/Serbian/English). I think it's always a surprise to people when they find out, and most of the time it's quickly followed by, “So where were you born?” People are always interested to know how I could learn 3 languages fluently, but it's easy when you grow up surrounded by people constantly speaking it. 


Anything else you would like to share?
I'm so thankful to my coaches, parents, and friends for being so supportive of me. While it may be cliche, the values and disciplines learned through speed skating have drastically shaped me to be the person I am. Skating will always be something that I can look forward to and despite how I feel coming into practice, I'm always leaving with a smile.