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Jewtraw skaters compete through adverse ice conditions

February 22, 2017
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A host of first time youth skaters, elite Canadians, Olympians and local stars competed in the Charles Jewtraw Allround Championships on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19 in the final Lake Placid Speed Skating Club metric race of the season.

The skaters were able to overcome challenging ice conditions created by unseasonably warm weather to skate three out of the four distances necessary for the Allround title.

The race is named for Charles Jewtraw, who lived and trained in Lake Placid and is considered one of the "Legends of the Oval" alongside other skaters like Jack Shea and Eric Heiden. Jewtraw won the first gold medal at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in the 500-meter race, and this medal is on display at the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution as the first gold to be brought back to the United States. Jewtraw was a member of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club, and still has descendants living in the area.

Article Photos

Alexandria Franz, a 5-year-old Adirondack Speed Skating Club member from Lake Placid, makes her way through the 300-meter children’s race of the Charles Jewtraw Championships Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Olympic Speedskating Oval. 
Photo — Christie Sausa

Allround refers to the fact that skaters must skate several different types of distances - from sprint to long distances - and skate fast enough in all races to have the lowest points (times).

Sydney Terpening of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club won the overall ladies title, skating excellent races that included personal best times. She trains on the Olympic Oval with fellow ASSC teammate Fletcher Codd, who placed second overall and won his age category.

"Saturday was a perfect racing day with beautiful blue skies and fast ice, but Sunday was challenging with the melting ice conditions, but I had so much fun with all of my Canadian friends," Terpening said. "I was happy with my results in the 1,500 meter and 1,000 meter. The 3,000 was the most challenging as the ice became softer. After this weekend of competing I can't wait for my last race this season, the AmCup finale (March 10-12) in Salt Lake City, Utah."

The overall men's title went to 2010 Olympic silver medalist Trevor Marsicano of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club. Marsicano has been skating and coaching for the LPSSC on the Olympic Oval during the weekends.

"With the weather being good - maybe a little too good - and some of the fastest times of the season, you can't ask for a better way to close the metric season," Marsicano said. "This is the most fun I have had skating since I first started. I want to thank the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club for all their help and how fun they have made this season."

Joining Marsicano was fellow Olympian Dan Weinstein, who competed in short track in the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Games. Weinstein visits Lake Placid several times during the season to skate on the Oval. His daughters Grace and Sophie also competed in the event, taking part in shorter children's races.

"The weekend was what speedskating is about: top level skating along with top-notch fun," Weinstein said. "It's what gets kids as young as 5 years old hooked on the sport, and provides experiences to develop future Olympians.

"Personally, it was so much fun to get back on the ice to race for the first time since retiring after the 2002 Olympics."

The children's races were a relatively new addition to the Charles Jewtraw event schedule to encourage participation with younger skaters. There were two age categories - 7-and-under and 8-10 - with each participant receiving an award. Competing in 100-, 200-, 300- and 500-meter races were Ally Bourgeois, Alexandria Franz, Stephanie and Thomas Kilbourne-Hill, Grace and Sophie Weinstein and Danica Vassar.

The weekend culminated with a fun 3,000-meter mass-start race, where nearly a dozen skaters of all ages and levels powered through soft ice to finish the 7.5 laps before the conditions became unsafe.

The last metric meet of the season ended with sun and fond farewells, until next season.

"We all love to go to Lake Placid to race, and have been doing it for years," Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club (Ottawa) head coach Mike Rivet said. "It is one of the premier events for our kids. It's a great facility with great people to work with, which is why we keep coming back."

The next last scheduled meet of the season is the Lake Placid Ice Marathon Finale March 3-5. For more information, visit Lake Placid Speed Skating Club's website at



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