Richardson, Davis claim first sprint national titles

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Heather Richardson and Shani Davis won their first sprint national titles Tuesday, the final day of the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships.

Richardson of High Point, N.C., repeated Monday's sweep in the 500- and 1,000-meter races at Pettit National Ice Center.

The four-day competition determined national championships and slots on the U.S. winter World Cup team. The trials to decide the U.S. team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be at this site in October.

Richardson won the 1,000 in 1 minute, 18.39 seconds, one-tenth of a second faster than Monday's time. She took the 500 in 39.54 after turning in a faster time of 39.36 a day earlier. She also won the 1,500 in the all-around Sunday.

Davis of Chicago swept the 1,000 and was second in the 500 both days.

Richardson switched to ice just 15 months ago after nine years of inline skating. She hadn't counted on turning in her best performance.

"I didn't expect it," she said. "I think that made it a little bit easier, too, because I didn't have that much pressure."

She finished with 157.08 overall sprint points to beat two far more experienced speedskaters. Two-time Olympian Elli Ochowicz was second with 158.005. Coming back from a stomach virus and using new blades, three-time Olympian Jennifer Rodriguez was third with 159.995.

Tucker Fredricks, of Salt Lake City, who trailed only Davis with 142.380 points, said Richardson made "a giant leap."

"She's up there with the best girls," he said.

Davis, ranked No. 1 in the World Cup standings in the 1,000, won in 1:09.20 on Monday and 1:09.64 on Tuesday.

"I've won the all-around one six times in a row, but I've never won the overall sprint one," he said after earning it with 140.740 points. "It's better now than never, so I'll accept that I'm happy about it."

Nick Pearson of Park City, Utah, took third with 143.190.

Trevor Marsicano, 19, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., won the 10,000 all-around Sunday. He trains with Davis at the Pettit Center.

"It was fun racing Trevor. He's a young up-and-coming guy," Davis said after Marsicano finished second twice in the 1,000. "I teach him certain things, but I can't teach him everything. He'd put me out of a job. I teach him what I can."