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ESWG skaters pick up speed

February 7, 2020
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - It's not common to see both long track and short track speedskating happening simultaneously in Lake Placid, but during the Empire State Winter Games Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, skaters could compete in one or both disciplines.

More than 70 skaters participated in the long track events, while approximately 60 skaters competed in short track.

The weekend started with long track competition Friday afternoon and Saturday morning on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval as several local skaters competed in 500-meter, 1,000-meter, 1500-meter and 3,000-meter races. Both days were ideal for racing, with mild temperatures and no wind.

Article Photos

Claire Liew, a senior at Lake Placid High School, races to a gold medal in the Scholastic B category of the Empire State Winter Games speedskating event at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid
Provided photo — Jason Hicks-Moriarty

Lake Placid High School senior Claire Liew won the Scholastic B category, representing the Adirondack Speed Skating Club.

"I set four Lake Placid Oval personal best times, and had a great experience," Liew said.

Also of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club, Sammy Hart-Gorman skated to a gold medal in the Scholastic B group. Although he is from Syracuse, he trains for long track in Lake Placid.

"I always like competing at Empires," Hart-Gorman said. "I feel a sense of accomplishment about my performance. All of my training is starting to pay off, and I'm thankful for all of the people who help me train. I was most proud of getting four outdoor personal records, and of my 3K which was my favorite race."

Racing in her first and only race of the season, Christie Sausa of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club won the Master's ladies' title.

Also racing on behalf of the Adirondack Speed Skating Club, Justin Liew, who competed alongside sister Claire Liew, skated to a silver medal in the Scholastic C category.

Some skaters based out of Lake Placid also did well with their races. Tommy Fitzgerald, of Suffield, Connecticut, who is the reigning LPSSC Heiden Challenge title holder, won Scholastic A.

"It was a great weekend overall, I set three new outdoor personal bests and a lot of my club members came out and watched me race long track for the first time, so it was fun having them there to support me," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald plans to compete in the Heiden Challenge again this year, which is going to be especially exciting because of the 40th anniversary of the Olympic Games celebrations.

Meanwhile, Liew's next race in Lake Placid will be the Jack Shea Sprints Feb. 8 and 9.

Short track races took place Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and included skaters of all ages competing in various distances. While no local skaters competed in the event, several of the skaters who competed in long track also competed in the short track events.

Event organizer Tom Miller summed up the weekend's events best.

"Great weather, great skating, great success," Miller said.

For more information on the Empire State Winter Games, including results, go to For more information on the Adirondack Speed Skating Club and Lake Placid Speed Skating Club, go to



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