(5k Champ, Jonathan Kuck. Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Salt Lake City, UT – Day one of the three day 2011 US Single Distance Championships for long track speedskating has wrapped and we’ve had some very interesting results. Earlier DailyHouse discussed the men and women’s 500m results from this morning here, which showed for the first time, in my memory at least, the top four US women in a sprint event being comprised entirely of former inline skaters. The common wisdom in the sport had been that inliners were generally better distance skater and were not technical or strong enough to be sprinters. (Obviously Jen Rodriguez, who became the world sprint champion in 2005, and *ehem* yours truly, stand as evidence that former inline skaters can be sprinters – but we were considered exceptions to the rule.)
The men’s 5k and women’s 3k took place this aftenoon. There really weren’t too many surprises in the women’s race. Maria Lamb and Jilleanne Rookard have been amoung the top US distance skaters for years and unsurprisingly they went one and two today with a 4:16.10 and 4:18.15 respectively. Both skaters were pretty far off their personal bests – not surprising, as this is really just a qualifying meet. Mary Grace rounded out the top three with a 4:27.81, but interestingly there was a surprise in the 4th place spot. Short track Olympic medalist Allison Baver took the copper medal in a time of 4:28.62, only a few months after switching to the 400m oval.
The men’s event was even more interesting. Jonathan Kuck, who holds the current season best time in the men’s 3k, won the 5000m event today, just edging out Olympic gold medalist and world champion Shani Davis. The pair went 6:25.34 and 6:25.83, respectively. Patrick Meek took the third position with a very respectable time of 6:28.19. Again, 4th place was the interesting one, at least to me.
Inline superstar Joey Mantia made his debut at a US National Championships on ice and skated a very strong 6:34.37 – which means he was offered a spot on the US world cup team, but said in a phone call today that he would decline the position to stay in Salt Lake and continue his on ice training. Ordinarily I would not think that the best move for a skater, but really, Mantia is not an ordinary athlete. He already has years of competing at the highest international level and what he needs now is uninterrupted ice time.
There is nowhere better to train than Salt Lake and if Mantia improves at the same pace as another former inline world champion turned ice skater, Chad Hedrick, then Mantia will be in fine position come December to perhaps even qualify for a world team spot. For comparison’s sake, Chad Hedrick’s first 5k (on his second attempt at long track, he tried once several years before his 2006 Olympic debut) was 6:35.56. Thanks to DailyHouse reader Jim White for the info.
The other big surprise was the rather disappointing 6:44.31 5th place finish by Trevor Marsicano. Marsicano was a silver medalist in the 2010 Olympics and won the bronze medal in the 5000m at the 2009 World Single Distance Championships.
Women’s 3k Results:
Men’s 5k Results:
|3||Patrick Meek||MSA||USA||6.28,19||PR SB|
|4||Joey Mantia||MSA||USA||6.34,37||PR SB|
|6||Alex Hopp||MN3||USA||6.47,24||PR SB|
|7||Nick Frank||MSA||USA||6.47,63||PR SB|