MELBOURNE, Australia (February 23, 2012) – John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, PA) opened the 2012 ISU World Junior Short Track Speedskating Championships with a bronze medal in the 1500m, posting a time of 2:20.278. Se Yeong Park (KOR) won the distance with a time of 2:20.059, followed by Hyo Been Lee (KOR) in second with 2:14.546. Krueger is the 2012 U.S. Junior Short Track Champion.
“I’m honored to win a medal for the United States of America. It is a little disappointing that I didn’t get a higher position on the podium,” said Krueger. “The Koreans were racing strong and they did a really good job.”
“The style of racing at Junior Worlds is different from racing at World Cup level,” he added. “I think it’s a little crazier, personally. I don’t have any excuses for how I performed. Speedskating is speedskating, stuff happens and you can’t win them all. I have three more races ahead of me, and hopefully I’ll be able to place higher in those.”
The men’s 1500m competition saw Claude Gilbert (Spring Valley, NY) post a 2:21.561 to win his heat, and Krueger skated a 2:32.582 to win his heat. Gilbert and Krueger advanced to the quarterfinals. James Rodowsky (Annapolis, MD) skated a time of 2:30.519 to finish 3rd in his heat, just missing the chance to qualify for the next round.
Gilbert went on to win his quarterfinal with a time of 2:29.213, and Krueger posted a 2:20.278 for third in his heat. Both moved on to the semifinals, where Kruger continued to advance with a 2:21.820 for 2nd place in his heat. Gilbert skated in a fast heat, posing an impressive 2:18.092, placing 5th, but missing out on the opportunity to advance to the finals.
Team USA Men (Krueger, Rodowsky, Adam Callister (Salt Lake City, UT) & Gilbert) took 2nd in their 3000m relay heat, posting 4:07.679 to finish behind Korea (4:00.649). Team USA will skate tomorrow’s semifinals against Korea, Hungary and Russia.
“The team relay is going well so far,” added Kruger. “We all had some pretty good exchanges and we are all focused. Our speed is good, and hopefully we’ll be able to make it to the final.”
In the ladies 1500m competition, Sarah Chen (San Marino, CA) won her heat with a time of 2:41.499, and Sally Chea (Midlothian, VA) took 2nd in her heat with a time of 2:41.401, Both Chen and Chea advanced to the semifinals. Kendal Pumphrey (San Clemente, CA) skated a 2:41.805 to take 3rd in her heat and did not advance.
In the semifinal round, Chen skated a 2:25.844 for 4th place in her heat, and Chea posted a 2:31.076 for 5th place. The ladies did not advance to the final round.
The Korean ladies swept the podium, with Suk Hee Shim winning gold with a time of 2:21.987, Hyun Sun Hwang taking silver with 2:22.069, and Se Jung Ahn winning bronze with 2:22.183.
Extended results from today’s competition in Melbourne are available at http://www.sportresult.com/federations/ISU/ShortTrack/. Racing continues tomorrow, beginning at 4pm (MST) with the Ladies and Men’s 500m and 3000m Relay.