KEARNS, Utah (January 6, 2012) – The top U.S. short track speedskaters took to the ice at the Utah Olympic Oval today for the opening day time trials at the 2012 U.S. Short Track National Championships.
Reigning 2011 500m World Champion and 2010 Olympic Bronze medalist Simon Cho (Laurel, MD) leads the Overall men’s standings, and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Lana Gehring (Glenview, IL) and Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI) are tied atop the Overall ladies standings following the 4-lap, and 9-lap time trials.
Jonathan Garcia (Houston, TX) sits second overall, followed by Robert Lawrence (Gaffney, N.C.) in third. Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, WI) is third for the ladies.
Marking first competition of the 2011-12 season following a break due to a back injury, Cho won the 4-lap time trial with a time of 37.706. Lawrence took second with a time of 37.866, and Kyle Uyehara (Lakewood, CA) posted 38.089 for third.
“Mentally and emotionally I remain strong,” said Cho. “I will carry that as momentum and confidence going into the remaining races this weekend.”
Garcia skated to a win in today’s 9-lap time trial with a time of 1:27.751, followed by Cho in second at 1:27.915, and Travis Jayner (Midland, MI) in third with a time of 1:28.123.
“I was pretty happy with the win in the 1000m today, hopefully I can continue to build upon that in the next couple of days,” said Garcia. “In today’s race I knew I had to race hard, but also keep my composure and try to settle in as much as I could on the ice. I feel like that helped quite a bit.”
Smith won the ladies 4-lap time trial with a time of 40.221, Gehring was second at 40.241, and Dudek took third with a time of 40.446.
“ I am happy with my results from today. There is still a lot of racing to go, so I am staying focused and looking forward to the rest of the weekend,” said Smith.
Gehring had a commanding win in the 9-lap time trial posting a time of 1:30.245, followed by Smith in second with 1:32:399, and defending U.S. Champion Katherine Reutter (Champaign, IL) in third at 1:32.635.
The 2012 U.S. Championships continue tomorrow with the 1500m and 500m distances. The races will be webcast live beginning at 10am (MST) on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/USSTChamps2012. Please visit https://webpoint.usspeedskating.org/files/Event_PDFs/1919_Event_OtherDoc3.pdf for extended results from today’s time trials.