Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Classic 2012 (USARS sanctioned) in Wichita, KS, displays some classic talent!

Photo Courtesy: Tyler Welch
(Wichita, KS) was the site where they held their annual Winter Classic USARS sanctioned event this past weekend and despite the cold bitter weather outside it was hot racing inside for flat track racing! Around 125 entries this year rounded out by local and several neighboring states’ skate clubs brought some fierce competition nonetheless. One athlete that definitely came to play was Luigino/Atom’s newbie Aaliyah Grant out of Ft. Smith, AR, carded as a Sophomore division competitor but competed like an elite world-class skater winning 7 golds out of 7 events in classic style & humility.

(above from left: Emrick, Grant, Threet)
Just a week prior Grant was nursing a sore calf muscle from her varsity track running but it didn’t seem to hinder her performance this past weekend such as the Grand Champions race comprised of the top 3 finishers in Senior, Junior, Sophomore, Freshman & Classic Ladies combined for a Winner Takes ALL war on the floor. Winning that event as just a Sophomore made her the one to talk about all weekend & she seemed to have plenty more of where that came from. Grant also turns just 16 this coming Tuesday & Atom Wheels would like to wish her a very happy birthday & look forward to many more together.

above: Race action Grant leads the way during the Grand Champions 2500m Event

In theElite Sr. Men’s division it was a battle for the top of the podium spot between Donavon Sellers (Des Moines, IA) Michael Ringer (Dallas, TX), Brian Talley (Dallas, TX) and a Grand Classic ‘but still running with the big boys’ skating elite competitor Nickey Lee (Tulsa, OK). Sellers seemed to have the upper hand in the sprint distances but Ringer redeemed himself by winning the 1500m event stating he was starting to get use to the more narrower than traditional floor.

(above: race action Ringer, Talley & Sellers (far right) on the move)
Meanwhile for 2nd & 3rd it was a battle between Talley and Lee, even hawking each other at the finish line a few times but Talley would prevail in the end giving him enough points for the bronze overall. The Sr. 5000m Open didn’t disappoint with Sellers & Ringer going head to head for bragging rights in Kansas. It would seem that Ringer won the event but a late DQ came after the race, advantage Sellers. Definitely some crowd pleasing race action by the elite men!

(above from left: Ringer, Sellers, Talley)

(above: race action Michael Ringer taking the lead in the Grand Champions Race)
Hall of fame coach Mark Muse (Des Moines, IA) brought around 10 athletes to this competition and they all came to put IA back on the racing map as they once were the most dominant club during all of the 80’s and ½ of the 90’s hands down! Whitney ‘the Whip’ Emrick (Freshman Girls champion) Stoppelmoor (Freshman Boys Champ) Kayla Duque (Juvenile Girls Silver) Jenea Kaster & Avery Tilley (Novice Silver) were just a few of this team’s solid roster & growing fast!
(above from left: coach Mark Muse, Sellers, Emrick, blurry stranger)

(above from left: Tinsley, Emrick, DFW)
Wrapping up some other top finishes were Jim Larson in Veteran Men (gold). St. Louis’s finest came with Gateway Speed led by grand classic’s Patrick Finley who came to make some noise no doubt. Finley stated “the big winner from our team was definitely Carolina Rivera, coming out with the HUGE win in Classic Ladies, and a STRONG showing in the Race of Champions. Brian Hampton, Justin Rogers & Julian Williams all stepped up to the plate this past weekend.” Plan on seeing a lot more of Gateway in 2012.

(above from left to right: Justin Rogers, Brian Hampton, Carolina Rivera, Patrick Finley, Ashley Rumfelt - Team Gateway Speed - St. Louis)
Great job racers & thanks to all that stopped by the Luigino/Atom booth to say hello. We appreciate your support and plan to see each and every one of you real soon.
Atom Wheels
(A brand you can trust)

Atom Wheels
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