In my last post I completely forgot to talk about the racing and the skaters at NSC. The racing was phenomenal, period point blank. From the very first heat, there was very solid racing from all the athletes. There were a few people that really stood out in my mind though.
I’ll start with William Bowen. This guy has been on fire as of late. He was pretty much on a whole other level than everybody in the sprint races. He should be one to watch for the rest of the year, not only in NSC and indoor races, but outside as well. Coming off a huge World Championships, Will should be in the running for even more world medals in Korea.
Next there were a couple of rookies who really stepped up there game under the limelight that really impressed me, Nick Dominski and Jared Finscher. A lot of times when kids who are younger or less experienced race the top guys they get really timid. Most of the time they like to follow the top skaters and key their moves off of the top guys. These guys did not do that what so ever. For instance, in the 1000m heat, Jared went to the front with 7 to go and flat out started sprinting! Granted he didn’t make it out of the heat, but that takes balls to go to the lead like that. In the sprinter group, Nick surprised everyone when he busted out a 8.5 100m time trial. He went, and all of us were watching saying, “man, he’s got a good one going,” but we had no idea that he was going to be in the lead until the last 2 people went! I mean come on, Will went 8.2 I think. That is insane that a kid who has probably never skated a flying 100 in competition before went that fast at his NSC debut. Big props to Nick and Jared.
And finally Jake Powers and Keith Carroll skated really well after not being on inlines for months. Now some of you might think that switching back and forth between ice and inline isn’t that big of a deal, well it is. Especially when you’re skating short track. There is such a huge gap in technique between inline and short track. It’s a combination of the skates being set up completely different, (short track blades are almost hanging off the boot, slammed all the way inside) being able to feel insane amounts of pressure on the ice, and never sliding when there hauling ass through the corner. I couldn’t witness this with my own eyes, but according to Keith, when he was at session Saturday afternoon in Washington, he could hardly stand up on his skates. I kind of know how these guys feel, and ill try to explain it in a way that everyone can understand. For you hardened inline vets out there, imagine going from being able to do anything you want on your skates to all of a sudden feeling like it was the first time you put them on. But anyways, back to Keith and Jake. These guys went from feeling like that to both of them making the grand champions race. Being able to have that much determination to teach yourself how to skate again, and then showing up and being confident at game time is unbelievable.
Those are the few people that truly stuck out in my mind. Everyone skated really well, and you could definitely see that these guys have been working hard since NSC trials in November. There will be a lot of good racing to come.