Jeff Simon Wins the 1500M on Day 2 of Racing

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The first races of U.S. Single Distance Short Track Champoionships of US Speedskating kicked off today. There was incredible racing with a photo finish in the Men's 1500M race.

In an incredible photo finish to the men’s 1500m race, Jeff Simon (Las Vegas, NV \ 2:20.377) took first place in his first competition since being injured more than two years ago. Simon appeared to cross the line with fellow competitors Travis Jayner (Midland, MI) and John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburg, PA). But after a review by the officials, Simon was declared the winner, followed by Jayner in second (2:20.411) and Krueger in third (2:20.420).

“It was pretty tough, but exciting,” said Simon. “It felt really good to win after all the falls and tough competition. I was just trying to focus on myself, make sure I was safe out there and ready to attack when the time was right.”

Kyle Carr (Peach Tree City, GA), JR Celski (Federal Way, WA) and Keith Carroll (Philadelphia, PA) added to the exciting finals when all three crashed in the 13.5-lap race.

For the ladies, it was Lana Gehring (Northbrook, IL / 2:26.688) who came out on top in first place, followed by Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI / 2:26.807) in second, and Emily Scott (Springfield, MO / 2:26.891) in third.

For a second straight winning day, Jessica Smith blew away the competition, crossing the finish line first in the ladies 500m finals (44.965). Sarah Chen (San Marino, CA / 45.723) finished second and Lana Gehring took third (46.011).

“I didn’t know I was that far in front of everyone until the end,” said Smith. “I wasn’t really sure what was going on behind me, I was just focused on skating. I didn’t really hear anybody behind me.”

The men provided another exciting final in the 500m. Yesterday’s top finisher, Chris Creveling (Kintnersville, PA) was penalized after a crash involving JR Celski. Celski still managed to get back up and finished the race in third place (49.972). In the end, Robert Lawrence (Gaffeny, SC / 42.377) finished in first place, to the cheers of his family in the stands, followed by Eduardo Alvarez (Miami, FL / 42.554), who took second.

“This was my first ever career win on the senior level, so I feel great right now,” Lawrence said. “It was a lot of racing because I came from the repechage round this morning, but went out there strong and felt really good.”

For complete results from today’s competition, visit

Tomorrow’s competition gets underway at 10:30 am MST, with the first of two 1000m races and the second and final 1500m race of the competition.

You can follow all the action this weekend, including up-to-the-minute athlete reactions, throughout the Championships on our Facebook page ( or on Twitter (

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Tamara Castellano
US Speedskating
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