Reports by Wolverine Speed Team Coach Jay Ingram from the 2006 World Speed Skating Championships in Anyang, S. Korea.
9/6/06-Anyang, S. Korea – 200 Meter
Competition today moved to the road track, with the first test of the pavement coming in the form of the 200meter timed event. In this format, athletes race around a portion of the track, skating only against the clock, not each other. Team USA had athletes qualify in all 4 divisions, but some just barely, like Dane Lewis, who’s time earned him a 12th place finish and a spot in the final heat of the senior men’s event.
First up were the Junior ladies. Mariah led off the US contingent of skaters to race the clock, as skating order is determined by reverse times in the qualifying round. Quick out of the start Mariah approached the midsection of the 200m course. Comprised of a short straightaway, then a stretch of curve that makes up the majority of the segment, Mariah received cheers from around the track, and came in with a respectable time of 18.890 and placed in 5th place. The other Richardson, Heather, would end up 6th with a time of 18.905. The winning time in this event was 18.638 by MARIA JOSE MOYA SEPULVEDA from Chili.
Jr. Man Chad went next and skated clean lines, his time in this final event was 17.759 which placed him 12th. The winning time was 17.033 by GONI MIKEL from Spain. Terrell Bradley had skated the semi-finals earlier but did not have a time fast enough to make the top 12 to skate this final.
Next up was Senior Women Brittney Bowe (affectionately known as "B-BO" by her home crowd.) and Sara Sayasan. Sara went first and skated a respectable time of 19.091. This gave her a placement of 9th overall for this event. Fans in the main seating area could clearly hear Mrs. Bowe cheering from across the complex, encouraging her daughter to give it all she had. "B-Bo" would have a time of 18.838 which gave her a placement of 7th overall.
Sr. Man Joey Mantia, with a 4th place qualifying time was our best shot at winning a medal. Dane had already gone and his time was almost exactly what he had to make it to this point. That time though placed him 12th and it would most likely not be a medal winning time. Joey was up and jumped out of the gate with an intense energy. He rounded the long curve with textbook crossovers, and drove with all he had down the main stretch hoping his time would be good enough to capture a place on the podium. As the crowd waited for the time to post, there appeared to be a bit of controversy. Still no time for Joey had been posted, and officials were gathering on the track. Skating by himself, with a clean start, what could possibly have happened? You guessed it, a technical malfunction! Either Joey has incredibly bad luck, or the officials at the Anyang track have incredibly bad timing. No pun intended, but the announcement shortly followed that Joey’s time had not been recorded and he would need to rerun the race. Disappointed fans were reminded of Monday's string of questionable protests that lead to Joey's declassification from a strong performance in the 500m Final. He went again and looked just like he did several minutes before but this round must have proved to be a bit taxing on him for his time would place him 10th overall. Incredibly, Joey looked unphased and quite composed. His spirit and sportsmanship are a true testament to the competition as he continues to roll with the events unfolding here in Anyang.
9/6/06-Anyang, S. Korea – Road Points Race
Jr. Ladies Briana Kramer and Emily Scott started out in a strong field of young women. Skaters were everywhere trying to get to the front. It would be a race of guts, heart and soul if you wanted to go home with a medal in this event.
After gaining a point early on in the race Briana Kramer with about 8 laps to go went for a point and no one went with her, she had a gap on the pack and got the next point, she was caught by a girl from Germany who had gained a few points a few laps before her and chose smartly to sit behind her until it was time to break and gained another point. Emily Scott was back with the main pack who was trying to catch Kramer and the German. Scott tried to get to the front to slow the pack down but when she did get there it was too late, the pack was with Briana and they took off. Both Emily and Briana worked together to finish the race and all that either of them could do at this point was to wait and see where the final points ended up. CAROLINA UPEGUI QUEVEDO from Colombia would end up winning this event with 5 points, CATHERINE ELIZABETH PENANPAILLACAR tied in points (5) with Carolina but finished behind at the finish, in doing so it gave her 2nd. Briana Kramer with her 4 points ended up with an overall third. This time if there were tears it would be of joy, for she had skated a great race and this 3rd placement would be a sweet start for future medal hopes.
The Jr. Men started out strong too and Hank GAIBRAITH along with Kevin Quandt trekked their way to the front to try and gain points. Hank would be stopped short each time he went for one and Kevin managed to gain his (1) and only point with a break from the pack. He along with another athlete from the Netherlands had a substantial gap on the pack but Kevin must have spent too much energy for he could not go with this athlete. GAIBRAITH, like Scott the race before him, got to the front to slow things down but it really did not matter due to the fact that Kevin was not there to gain those points. The pack went by Hank and caught these three boys. There was break, after break, after break when the main pack caught them, points were every where before the final sprint. This race ended up Colombia again, NICOLAS ANTONIO ZAMUDIO AUILA with (5) points would be the victor. Followed by DANIEL JOSEPH NATION from New Zealand (4) points and ROLANDO HERNAN OSSANDON MALDONADO from Chili with (4) points would end up 3rd.
Kelly Gunther and Jessica Smith would be the ladies from Team USA skating this event tonight. Their pace too started out fast like the rest of the races before them. The Argentine skaters as well as Colombian skaters went for points early in the race. Gunther was with them for several rallies to gain points but did not have what it took to get by any of these skaters. Points were being taken up by athletes from all over the World except the USA. Jessica Smith decided about half way through to make her move and those proved to be futile, again it looked as if she was trying to go fast but nothing was happening. The snap and speed that one would normally see come from her was no where to be found. Basically this race was going to be decided between the Colombians, Argentina and Korea. When it was all over ILVINA POSADA from Argentina with (9) points would be the Gold medal winner. HYO-SOOK WOO with (5) point would be the Silver medal winner while LIANA MERCEDES HOLGUIN CEDENO from Colombia would end up with the Bronze medal.
The Sr. Mens event was a mass start of over 55 men trying to get points for the win of this event. A South African skater took off from the gun and gained the first point, he basically sprinted to achieve that, after two laps he was seen no more. Over 15 men in this event gained points but only a hand full by the end had enough to make it all worth while. Both Americans picked up points, Jonathan Garcia and Joey Mantia were in tandem gaining points 3/4 way through this race and commanded the lead for a few short laps.
This race was so fast with so many teams doing the exact same thing that no one was ever really given the chance to rest. Joey ended up going on a break with Koreas YOO-JONG NAM who did not have any points up till now, Joey gained that point but when it was finished Nam took off which was to be expected. Mantia seemed to know this and tried to stay with Nam and JORGE REYES AGUILAR from Chili who had a few points himself already from the early rounds. Mantia placed himself back with the main pack to recoup for several laps. For the time spent by Mantia in the pack it looked as if his trek for a Gold medal in this event was over. By the time it was three laps to go it was clear that Joey was still in contention to win this thing.
Korea’s Nam had 4 points as well as Chilis’ Aguilar but if he could manage to win this thing at the end and those two did not finish in the top three it would be etched in stone that Joey Mantia would be the victor in this event at these World Championships of 2006.THe bell rang for the last lap and Joey made his move early to skate to the front. He was basically producing his own lead by using the other skaters inside of him to break the slight wind. He cruised by several skaters some 100 plus meters to the finish line and was victorious in capturing a Gold Medal in this event. It was a sweet ending in the damp cold night. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a bright day full of sunshine and warmth.