Austin Kleba sets American Junior Record in the men’s 500m
The fourth stop on the ISU Long Track World Cup circuit and the final Olympic qualification opportunity continued today at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah. Skaters raced in the men’s and women’s 500m #2, 1500m and Mass Start finals.
Joey Mantia (Ocala, Fla.) led the way for Team USA, capturing his second straight fourth-place finish in the men’s 1500m. Skating in the final pair, the 2014 Olympian turned in a time of 1:42.77, just 0.14 seconds behind third-place finisher Thomas Krol of the Netherlands.
“At this point of the season, it’s good to have Joey [Mantia] skating close to his personal best times,” said National Team Sprint Coach Matt Kooreman. “He had a few slips today after having a season best time last week in Calgary, but he knows what improvements need to be made going into Olympic Trials this January.”
Through four world cups this season, Mantia has skated to a silver and three top-five finishes in the men’s 1500m, placing fifth at World Cup Heerenveen, fourth at World Cup Stavanger and Salt Lake, and winning silver at World Cup Stavanger. He currently sits third overall in the men’s 1500m World Cup standings.
Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, Wisc.) secured another top-10 finish in the men’s 500m #2, finishing ninth, and outdoing his time from Friday with a season-best 34.34.
“I had a slight improvement in my skating today,” said Whitmore. “The opener was a little slower but that’s easy to fix. I’m glad to see that my composure was better, as I was able to think more out there and I’m heading in the right direction.”
The American record-holder in the men’s 500m was 0.32 seconds behind gold medal-winner Ruslan Murashov of Russia, and 0.19 seconds off a podium finish. Through four World Cups, Whitmore is 19th overall in the men’s 500m World Cup standings.
Skating in his first senior-level ISU World Cup, Austin Kleba (Campton Hills, Ill.) broke the American Junior Record in the 500m, skating a 35.40 in the men’s 500m B Division. Kleba broke the record of 35.50 set by Whitmore on Feb. 6, 2009 in Calgary, Canada.
Salt Lake City native, Jerica Tandiman (Kearns, Utah), set a personal best in the women’s 500m B Division, skating to a fourth-place finish in 38.31. Tandiman’s previous personal best time in the 500m was a 38.75 also set in Salt Lake City on March 11, 2017.
For full race results, click here.
Watch World Cup Calgary on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), all weekend long with racing scheduled to air from 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST.
The season’s fourth World Cup concludes on Sunday with the men’s and women’s 1000m, the women’s 3000m, and the men’s 5000m. The B Division is scheduled to start at approximately 8:50 a.m. local time (10:50 a.m. EST) and the A Division will start at 12:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. EST).
Highlights from World Cup Salt Lake Day 2 (Dec. 9)
Quote from Matt Kooreman, National Team Sprint Coach, on Joey Mantia
“At this point of the season, it’s good to have Joey [Mantia] skating close to his personal best times. He had a few slips today after having a season best time last week in Calgary, but he knows what improvements need to be made going into Olympic Trials this January.”
Quote from Mitch Whitmore, two-time Olympian
“I had a slight improvement in my skating today. The opener was a little slower but that’s easy to fix. I’m glad to see that my composure was better today. I was able to think more out there and I’m heading in the right direction.”