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Salt Lake City hosts World Cup qualifiers

October 30, 2017
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - In the world of elite speedskating, one competition determines which American atheltes go on to compete in the World Cup events, and helps skaters qualify for the Olympic Trials in January. That World Cup qualifier took place in Salt Lake City, Utah from Oct.11-15.

The World Cups are a series of six events internationally, starting in November and ending in March, four of which serve as Olympic quota qualifying competitions. This means that event results help determine how many skaters will qualify from each country's for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

For those who did not qualify for the World Cup team, the qualifiers are nevertheless an important event. If skaters meet certain time requirements for each race, they are eligible to compete in the Olympic trials in January. While the World Cup qualifiers were an important preview, the trials will be the "big event" in elite speed skating competition leading up to the Olympics.

Article Photos

2010 Olympic relay silver medalist Trevor Marsicano competes in?Lake Placid in February at the U.S. Long Track National Championships.
(Photo — Christie Sausa)

Several speed skaters who trained in Lake Placid last season in preparation for the event, or in previous years, competed in the World Cup qualifier or the Fall Challenge, an event held concurrently. Most trained with the Saratoga Winter Club and use the Lake Placid Olympic Speed Skating Oval as a training site during the winter season. An additional two skaters trained with the Adirondack Speed Skating Club before moving to Salt Lake City to further their careers.

Lake Placid Olympic Oval alumni Esther Munoz competed in the Fall Challenge, and earned a personal best time of 41.25 in her first event of the season. A Lake Placid High School Graduate, Munoz moved to Salt Lake City in 2016 to continue her training after training in Lake Placid with the Adirondack Speed Skating Club.

Fletcher Codd, also formerly of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club, did not compete in the Fall Challenge or World Cup Qualifier, but earned his qualifying times in the 500, 1,000 and 1,500-meter races from a previous time trial. Codd trained in Lake Placid until he graduated from Lake Placid High School last June.

Another local skater who competed in the Fall Challenge was Krissa Miller. Miller, whose uncle and father were both speed skaters and remain extremely involved in the sport, raced in four distances, three of which were season-best times. Miller currently trains in Salt Lake City.

Saratoga Winter Club skaters Petra Acker, Jennifer Kirsch, and Christian Gawek each earned qualifying times for the Olympic trials. Acker earned times for the 500, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, and 5,000-meter races, Kirsch earned a personal record in the 3,000-meter race and the qualifying time for the 1,500-meter race, and Gawek earned qualifying times for the 500, 1,000, and 1,500-meter races.

Acker's performance was good enough to earn a spot to the World Cup team.

Rebecca Simmons, a winner of several LPSSC meets, and 2010 Olympic silver medalist Trevor Marsicano, are now coaches, but they competed in Utah and also earned qualifying times. In addition to coaching, Marsicano trained and competed in Lake Placid speed skating meets last season. Simmons plans to be in Lake Placid this winter to coach and compete as well. Simmons earned her Olympic trials qualifying times in the 1,500, 3,000, and 5,000 meter races, while Marsicano earned times in the 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000-meter races.

Simmons, who along with Marsicano, has been training in Milwaukee at the Pettit Center to prepare for the races, thought the weekend's racing was beneficial for her as a skater, and hopes to earn the 1,000-meter qualifying time at an upcoming race.

"I know I have gained invaluable skating knowledge that only comes from the experience of skating with these top females in the US and world," Simmons said. "I took some risks that I know will make me a better skater in the long run. (Now it's) back to Milwaukee to refocus on top speed and get ready for the Calgary Can-Am competition in November."

Marsicano was pleased with his performance, especially considering the short hiatus he took from speed skating before resuming last season.

"Considering I only started training again last November, my performance was really good and my speed got faster as the competition went on," said Marsicano. "My goal for the next couple of months leading into Olympic Trials is to continue working on my top speed, since that is what was holding me back this past weekend."

The Olympic Trials event will take place Jan. 2-7 at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For more information on the World Cup qualifiers and Fall Challenge, visit For information on the Olympic trials and other news, visit



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