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Richardson, Davis win speedskating sprints

12/29/2008

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Heather Richardson won the women's 500 and 1,000 meters and Shani Davis took the men's 1,000 on Monday, each taking the overall sprint lead at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships at the Pettit National Ice Center.

Richardson, of High Point, N.C., won the 500 in 39.36 seconds and the 1,000 in 1 minute, 18.49 seconds. She took the overall sprint lead with 78.605 points at the four-day event which determines national championships and slots on the U.S. winter World Cup team.

Davis, a Chicago native ranked No. 1 in the World Cup standings in the 1,000, won the race in 1:09.20. Combined with a second-place finish in the 500, he was the men's overall sprint leader with 70.220 points.

Trevor Marsicano, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., was second behind Davis in the 1,000 with a time of 1:10.24 and Nick Pearson, of Park City, Utah, was third in 1:10.43.

Richardson has barely a year's experience in speedskating after being an inline racer for nine years.

"I stayed low in my races and had really good turns," Richardson said. An inline skater would typically stand taller coming out of the turns.

National Sprint Team coach Ryan Shimabukuro said Richardson is very coachable and likes the competition.

"She's so green," he said. "Every opportunity she has, she just gets better

So does Davis.

"The 1,000 meter is my true specialty, so I'm happy to come out here and work on some of those things I need to work on for the up-and-coming World Cup and the world championships for the 1,000. I try to work on top speed and was able to get a lot of good top speed today in comparison to the two earlier days."

Davis did not skate in the 10,000 on Sunday, won by Marsicano in 13.41.01. Chad Hedrick, the all-around men's champion, was second in 13:44.35.

"If I wouldn't have to fight so much in the 10,000, I would skate it," he said. "It was really close between first and second and I knew, like me, I would just go out there and go for broke. I can't do that and then have two more days for skating. So, I decided not to do it."

Elli Ochowicz, of Salt Lake City, kept pace with Richardson and finished second in the 500 in 39.45 and in the 1,000 in 1:18.65.

Tucker Fredricks, also from Salt Lake City, won the 500 in 35.35 while Davis skated to second in 35.62, a personal best at the Pettit Center. Brent Aussprung was third in 35.99.

Lauren Cholewinski, from Murray, Utah, was third in the 500 in 40.30. Jennifer Rodriguez, the Cottonwood Heights, Utah native who continues her comeback from a two-year retirement, was third in the 1,000 in 1:19.42.