Members of the Potomac Speedskating Club.
Photo by Jackie Choy
Fourteen members of the Potomac Speedskating Club competed at the 2016-17 U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals in Midland, Mich. March 17-19, bringing home the National Club Championship title.
Based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., the team practices at Wheaton Ice Arena and Cabin John Ice Rink. Potomac previously won the national club championship title in 2012 and was runner-up last year. The title is awarded to the club whose skaters earn the most points at Age Group Nationals.
Returning national champion Hailey Choi, of Oakton, Va., broke national records in all four distances in the Junior D Ladies division, for 11- and 12-year-old skaters: 333 meter, 500 meter, 777 meter and 1000 meter. She earned first place overall in the division. Altogether, Choi has won the overall national title for her age division three times for short track and four times for long track, including last month at the U.S. Long Track Age Group Nationals in Lake Placid, N.Y. In addition to the four short track national records, Choi currently holds three U.S. outdoor long track records.
Returning national champion Brandon Kim, of Fairfax, Va., broke his own national record in the 500 meter in the Junior C Men's division, for 13- and 14-year-old skaters. He now holds national records in all four distances in the division: 500 meter, 777 meter, 1000 meter and 1500 meter. Last December, Kim won first place overall among men at the 2016-17 U.S. Short Track Junior Championships in Kearns, Utah. Kim also competed at the World Junior Short Track Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, in January, 2017, where he won a bronze medal in the 3000 meter relay, setting a new U.S. junior record.
Together, Choi and Kim set five of the seven new national records made at the U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals, which took place at Midland Civic Arena.
The team was led by Head Coach Simon Cho, who joined Potomac in May 2016, following a career as a short track speedskater. Cho won a bronze medal in the 5000 meter relay in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the 2011 World Champion in the 500 meter.
Other results from Potomac skaters include:
Russell Riehl won the bronze medal in the 50 to 59-year-old Master skaters division.
Faith Kim placed second in the Junior A Ladies division, for 17-to-29-year-olds.
Andrew Heo won the national title in the Junior B Men's division, for 15- and 16-year-olds.
Andrew Kim earned 2nd place overall in the Junior C Men's division.
For Junior C Ladies, Ava Fradlin, Renee Miller and Samantha Leventis earned 4th, 5th and 7th places overall.
Shawn Kim and Christian Kim finished 1st and 3rd, respectively in the Junior D Men's division, for 11- and 12-year-old skaters
Jing-Kye “Mathew” Yen finished 2nd and Benjamin Sullivan, 8, the youngest competitor at the meet, placed 9th in the Junior E Men's division, for skaters from seven to 10 years old.
Kyungeun“Cindy” Jang won 4th place in the Junior E Ladies division.
To be eligible to compete at nationals, skaters must earn a qualifying time that is less than 120 percent of the current national record in any distance in their age division. More than 160 skaters from around the country raced in the event.
In addition to the 14 skaters who competed at Age Group Nationals, Potomac members Aaron Heo, Shaner LeBauer and Roen Riehl competed at the American Cup III competition, also held at Midland Civic Arena the same weekend, finishing 2nd, 3rd and 14th overall, respectively. American Cup III is one of a series of races used to determine overall national rankings for the season and to qualify for selection for the U.S. World Cup Team and the Olympic trials.
The Potomac Speedskating Club welcome skaters of all ages and abilities. The club offers a free trial session as well as a discounted rate for a learn-to-speedskate package. For more information about the club, visit www.potomacspeedskating.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.