Lehman, Schoutens Win Events at US Speedskating Trials

Emery Lehman won the 5,000 meters at the U.S. speedskating trials. Except he didn't earn an Olympic berth. Not yet anyway.

The U.S. doesn't have a spot in the 5,000 next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, so Lehman will try to make the team in a different event.

Lehman, a 2014 Olympian as a high school student from suburban Chicago, won with a time of 6 minutes, 27.90 seconds on Tuesday night. He was 5.05 seconds ahead of second-place Ian Quinn.

Jeffrey Swider-Peltz was third at 6:34.18. Four-time Olympian KC Boutiette, competing at age 47, finished fourth at 6:47.02.

The Americans have second priority and third reserve for the 5,000. They won't find out until later this month whether a spot opens up for someone, not necessarily Lehman, to skate at the Olympics. That could happen if other countries decide not to enter their skaters.

However, Lehman still needs to make the team in another event in order to skate the 5,000 if the U.S. earns a spot. Otherwise, the U.S. would choose a skater already in Pyeongchang to compete.

Lehman is skating on home ice this week. He trains and coaches skaters ranging from first grade to junior high at the Pettit National Ice Center and attends nearby Marquette University, where he's taking a break from his civil engineering studies.

"They say you don't really know something until you can explain it or try and make other people understand it," he said. "That really relates to speedskating. I have to explain it to these really little kids who may not understand it fully. Half the time I probably don't fully understand what I'm saying until I try to explain it 100 times and finally it clicks in my head."

On the women's side, Carlijn Schoutens earned her first Olympic berth by winning the 3,000 meters.

The 22-year-old, who was born in New Jersey to Dutch parents, finished in 4:14.03.

"It's been a goal for a long time and to make it happen, it's just unbelievable," Schoutens said. "In the 3k, my main event, I'm really proud and happy."

Schoutens finished 1.71 seconds ahead of the next-fastest skater, Mia Manganello at 4:15.74, to claim the only spot available on the Olympic team.

"I've been trying a couple different things this year, and the one that seems to work best for me is starting out pretty fast," Schoutens said. "That was a great idea for this race, too, because it's pretty hard to keep the speed, so the more speed at the beginning, the better you'll be at the end. I'm happy I started fast and held on to it as long as I could."

After skating for the Netherlands early in her career, Schoutens decided in 2014 to make the U.S. her home and compete for the Americans, though she still maintains friendships with the powerful Dutch.

"It's always fun getting together and knowing each other from the past," she said. "We're all supportive of each other and it's fun to compete."

Petra Acker was third at 4:18.85. Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. finished fourth at 4:26.37.

Manganello returned to speedskating in 2016 after racing professionally as a cyclist for five years. The Florida-born athlete was an inline skater before switching to ice.

"The first race is out of the way, so the butterflies are good to go," she said. "The ice was deceivingly slower than expected. It was a hard race from the gun."

Manganello is considering doing the 1,000 on Wednesday. She also might race the 5,000, along with the 1,500 and the mass start, an event that makes its Olympic debut in Korea.

The 3,000 was the first event of the trials, which run through Sunday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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