Last night was the first night of finals for this year’s National Championships, and it proved to live up to the hype. For those of you who watched, we were able to witness some phenomenal races all across the board. From the little ones to the seasoned vets, everyone seemed to step up to the plate last night. There were a few people/races that really stood out in my mind from last night though.
First I’d like to talk about a few of the younger ones. Quentin Ferrera (sp?) and Cooper Mcleod were both flying last night! If these two stick with it, they will surely be national champions and possibly even world champions in years to come.
The next person I’d like to talk about is Kirstyn Scales. I think last night Kirstyn passed more than she has ever had to in a single race. In her middle distance race last night, the 500 meter, Kirstyn slipped and slid all over the track and ended up falling all the way back to third place. And despite a valiant effort from Allison Pfander, Kirstyn was able to take the gold with a pass to the lead on the last lap. It was good to see Kirstyn actually have to race for once, instead of winning the start and beating everyone by a vast amount.
Next I’d like to move all the way up to the Senior Men’s division. I believe I have talked about Corey Bethel on my blog before, but I feel like what he did last night trumps anything I could have said about him before. Let the record show that Corey has probably been to 10-15 practices all year! But yet, he still went out and won the 500 and the 1500 meter races last night. This was also one of the first times I’ve seen Corey race and not get himself in any trouble by making a bad pass, or slipping and falling in the corner (he has a particularly bad habit of falling down). Corey has the 30 lap long race tonight, let’s see if he can go for the sweep!
And of course I couldn’t go without mentioning both World Class Men’s races last night. The 1500 showed tactics, fast racing, and even Justin Stelly going across the line hawking backwards! The 500 meter was definitely up to par as well. There were disqualifications, falls, and really fast skating. Two people really stand out in my mind from this division this year though. First is Ben Carey. Ben has always been an extremely fast skater, with a sprint that can compete against anyone. But this year, it really seems like he has his skating zeroed in. Ben has now won the 100 meter time trial and the 500 meter. Second I’d like to mention Jake Powers. For those of you that watched Jake last night, I’m sure you could agree with me, that Jake has now, officially, stepped out of the shadows of the other great indoor skaters and marked himself as a threat in any distance. Jake will hope to win the 50 lap elimination race tonight, after training hard all summer long in Salt Lake City. I think that he feels like he may be the most conditioned athlete in the running for the win tonight. We’ll see if that holds true.
Tonight, as you may have already known or guessed, there are the distance race finals. We will see who has really been training for this years national championships and who has been slacking off. I believe the doors open up for finals at 5:30 pm eastern. Make sure that everyone tunes in at skatersplace.com to watch the free live web cast with Ross Crevling!