LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Speed Skating Club is off to a strong start after hosting two very well-attended meets within the past two months.
The Jack Shea Sprints, which was the second event of the Lake Placid Speed Skating racing series, took place Dec. 14 and 15, with about 55 speed skaters from throughout the United States and Canada at the Olympic Oval. Skating through the bitter minus-10 degree temperatures Saturday morning and snow on Sunday morning, each skater competed in a 500-meter and a 1,000-meter race and repeated the same set on Sunday.
The sprints incorporate the two shortest distances to challenge speed skaters to race their fastest on the 400-meter oval. The 500-meter race is one lap plus the straightaway. The 1,000-meter race is two laps plus 200 meters (a turn and a straightaway).
Competitors at the Charles Jewtraw All Around speed skating event celebrate following the event Jan. 12 at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid.
(Photo — Christie Sausa)
Esther Munoz and Patrick Kelly were the overall winners of the Jack Shea Sprints. Munoz lives and trains in Lake Placid and last competed at the US Single Distance Championships and American Cup 1 this past October in Salt Lake City.
Kelly, a 1992 and 1994 Olympian for Canada, also lives and trains in Lake Placid.
The Charles Jewtraw All Around race hit the Oval ice on Jan. 11. This is a different kind of event, in which competitors race at several distances - 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters. This allows skaters the opportunity to skate several different types of distances outside their specialty.
The Jewtraw All Around was particularly important this year because it served as a back-up event for the Ottawa Provincial Championships, a qualifying event. Due to the unpredictability of the natural oval where they train and compete, several different Canadian clubs including the Ottawa Pacers and the Gloucester Concordes used Lake Placid as an alternate event to get sanctioned times.
There were approximately 70 skaters of all ages and abilities at the event. Chris Windman, who is originally from Purdys and attends the University of Minnesota, was the overall men's winner. Canadian skater Anaka Will-Dryden of Ontario, Canada was the overall women's winner.
"We were happy to be able to host the Canadian skaters at our event, and provide times for them in the event that their event is canceled," said Linda Sausa, President of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and meet director. "More than half of the competitors at this event were Canadian skaters, and in this Olympic year it's nice to see our two countries come together to compete."
Sausa added that the Ottawa skaters and the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club hope to plan this collaboration again for next year.
The next event will be the Irving Jaffee Single Distance Championships on Feb. 1-2. For more information, visit www.lakeplacidspeed.com.