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Oval brings in pack skaters for age group nationals

February 16, 2017
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Speedskating originated with pack-style racing, in which groups of racers covered certain distances together in groups or packs.

This was on display Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 by the more than 100 skaters who competed in the US Long Track Age Group Nationals at the Olympic Speedskating Oval.

"Events like this can only happen because everyone from the Adirondack speedskating community, ORDA, local businesses and the town of North Elba came together to make it a success," said meet director Tom Miller, of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club. "We had 113 skaters, three of them being past Olympians and 80 of them being possible future Olympians."

Article Photos

Trevor Marsicano leads a pack of skaters Saturday, Feb. 11 during the US Long Track Age Group Nationals at the Olympic Speedskating Oval in Lake Placid.
Photo — Christie Sausa

The three Olympians in the event were Amy Peterson Peck, a five-time Olympic competitor and three-time Olympic medalist, three-time Olympian Caroline Hallisey Kepka and Olympic medalist Trevor Marsicano.

Kepka placed second in the Master Ladies 30-39 age group. It was her first time competing since the 2006 Short Track National Championships.

"The last Long Track Pack Nationals I skated was probably around 1994," Kepka said. "I had a blast skating this weekend, but that 1,500 (meter race) hurt.

"It was great seeing all of my friends and skating with my teammate Amy Peck. I love Lake Placid!"

For Marsicano, it was his first Long Track Age Group Nationals, and he placed first in the Senior Men age group.

"With this being my first time at this meet, I had so much fun," Marsicano said. "It was nice to take a break from metric skating to sharpen my pack-style skills, as the mass start is an Olympic event now. It was also great to get to watch all the other age group classes, and equally special to have this competition in Lake Placid."

As a National championship, the event attracted skaters from throughout the United States, including competitors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington and the Tri-State area.

The overall team club championship winner was the Saratoga Winter Club, which had multiple skaters represented in nearly every age class and seven age class titles to its credit. The team has trained in Lake Placid for several years, practicing and competing in long track on weekends.

"Pack-style racing is one of my favorites and to have nationals in Lake Placid and see that oval filled with skaters made this weekend one of the best," said Saratoga Winter Club skater Rebecca Simmons, who won the Senior Ladies age group. "I was so happy to have everyone come to our 'home ice' and compete. There were some close races to watch, and it felt just like we went back to old-time speedskating. I'm so happy that I got to be a part of it."

Local speed skaters from both the Adirondack Speed Skating Club and the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club also participated last weekend. Christie Sausa of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club competed in the Senior Ladies category. Fletcher Codd of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club placed second, skating up two levels in the Senior Men Age Category. Jennifer Okonuk placed third in the Masters Ladies Age 40-49 category.

Sydney Yu-Terpening skated several strong races to become the Junior B Ladies Champion.

"Winning this national title was especially meaningful to me because I was able to compete on my home ice," Terpening said. "I loved all my races and getting to see all my friends from around the country. Winning this title means a lot because Lake Placid hasn't had nationals since 2008 and it was a lot of fun to be a part of this event."

Joe Franz of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club placed first in the Master 40-49 age group.

For more information about the US Long Track Age Group Nationals and other US Speedskating events, go to

The next speed skating event in Lake Placid will be the last metric meet of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club series, the Charles Jewtraw All Around Championships. For more information, go to



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