The Twin Cities today and Sunday is hosting one of the nation's premier outdoor winter sporting events,America's Cup U.S. Long Track Speedskating championships.
The meet, slated for the Guidant John Rose Oval in Roseville will feature a bevy of hopefuls for the 2014 U.S. Winter Olympic team and top-ranked Twin Cities-area athletes, including skaters from Roseville, Plymouth and Woodbury.
Races are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today (Saturday) and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Oval, 2661 Civic Center Drive. Twin Cities-area skaters expected to compete in the meet include:
Mac Blumel: Woodbury
Rebekah Dyrud: Plymouth
Paul Dyrud Plymouth: Crystal
Steven Hartman: Falcon Heights
Evan Beyer: Roseville
Andrew Turner: St Paul
Kyle Ronchak: Roseville/Mounds View
Connor Theisen: Mounds View/Shoreview
Conor Kennedy: Mounds View/North Oaks
Hayden Norris Duluth: U of M
Chris Windman Purdys: NY/U of M
Allie Thunstrom: Maplewood/North St Paul
Out of Town Athletes (those who grew up in the Twin Cities and train elswhere in the country but are Midway Speedskarting Club members.)
Rebekah Bradford: Apple Valley (2010 Olympian)
Lisa Hambly: White Bear Lake
Leah Lambert: Blaine
A spokesman for the Midway Speedskating Club, which is hosting the meet, told Patch, "The John Guidant Oval is one of two outside Olympic certified venues for long track speedskating in the U.S." The othe U.S. track is in Lake Placid,N.Y. , the site of Eric Heiden’s legendary performance. (Heiden won five speedskating gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N. Y.)
More than 20 Midway skaters qualified for this weekend's event, said Ray Larson, Club communication director. (Two weeks later the Midway club will host the U.S. Junior Long Track Nationals at the Oval).
The Midway Speedskating Club is a non-profit, parent-run, organization dedicated to developing young skaters in the sport of speedskating. Since 1946, Midway has produced a steady stream of Olympians, national champions,and US Speedskating team members in both long and short track disciplines, Larson said.
According to Larson, the Club focuses on developing skaters 18 years and younger. Older skaters with Olympic aspirations skate for the Midway High Performance Team. In addition, the Club sponsors out-of-town elite and Olympic-level skaters who have grown up with the Club.
To follow the Midway Speedskating Club and its skaters, check them out on Twitter (@midwayskaters), Facebook (Midway Speedskating Club) and Pinterest (MidwaySpeedSkating).