December 28, 2012

KEARNS, Utah (AP) Heather Richardson won the women's 500 meters with the fastest time in the world this year Friday at the U.S. Long Track Championships, while Mitch Whitmore took the men's sprint title on the second day of competition.

Richardson set a national record of 37.51 seconds in her first race, then lowered it to 37.34 in her second 500, giving her a combined time of 74.850 and the title at the Utah Olympic Oval.

"When I did the 37.5, I said, `OK, that was pretty good' and I wanted to try and beat it so I'm really glad that I did," Richardson said. "It's really exciting. To be able to podium in the 500 meters is really impressive for me because my start is nowhere near as close to the other girls and it's something I really want to work on."

Brittany Bowe finished second with a combined time of 76.370. Lauren Cholewinski was third with a combined time of 74.040.

In the men's 500, Whitmore skated his first 500 in 35.14 and his second in 35.37 for a winning combined time of 70.510.

Tucker Fredricks finished second with a combined time of 70.700. Clay Cholewinski, Lauren's brother, was third with a combined time of 71.170.

"I wanted to get a 34 coming into this weekend," Whitmore said. "The first one was really close, but I'm still really happy with both races."

The winners were determined by adding their times in both races together.

The meet continues through Monday.

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