Hosts USA took the honors in the Ladies tournament at the ISU Four Continents Championships on Saturday, with Mia Kilburg-Manganello winning the mass start to collect her second title of the weekend after Brianna Bocox (USA) got the day off to a flying start by taking the 1500m earlier in the afternoon.
Brianna Bocox (USA) takes gold in the Ladies' 1500m after a tough few months away from the ice 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Ladies’ 1500m: Bocox pays tribute to coach Shimabukuro
"It's surreal," Brianna Bocox said after taking her first medal at a major international tournament following an emotional rollercoaster over the last few months which has included the loss of her grandmother and a non-fatal heart attack for Bocox’s coach Ryan Shimabukuro.
"I'm grateful that Ryan is healthy and back coaching,” Bocox said. “He is at home with the rest of our teammates and I will catch up with him in Salt Lake City. He texted me immediately after the race. That made my heart very happy, he's been with me ever since I started."
Bocox' race plan was immaculate, despite the late medical withdrawal of pair mate Bëatrice Lamarche (CAN) forcing her to compete alone against the clock.
After a moderate opener, Bocox skated the fastest two middle laps of the field and managed to maintain enough speed to keep Nadezhda Morozova (KAZ) at bay.
Bocox stopped the clock at 1:57.17, with the 21-year-old Kazak finishing 0.71 adrift for her second silver medal of the weekend after the 3000m on Friday.
Bocox and Morozova each set a personal best to relegate Park Ji Woo (KOR) to third place and the bronze medal in 1:58.44.
"It's nice to be able to skate that race, [to have] confidence in my abilities, [to know] that I can execute a race plan," Bocox said.
Ladies' Mass Start medalists (from left): Kim Bo-Reum (KOR, silver), Mia Kilburg-Manganello (USA, gold), Park Ji Woo (KOR, bronze) 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Ladies’ Mass Start: Driving ambition for Kilburg-Manganello
It is a long drive from Ohio to Wisconsin, but Mia Kilburg-Manganello's parents will consider the journey from home to Milwaukee’s Pettit National Ice Center as six hours well spent after their daughter celebrated a golden weekend.
The 30-year-old US skater followed up her 3000m title success on Friday by winning Saturday’s tactical Mass Start on Saturday in thrilling style.
"This [race] was not like any other international mass start ever,” she said. "Our record slow was maybe a 50-second lap. It was pretty slow out there.
"Nobody wanted to work, nobody wanted to put their nose in the wind. I figured at that point, about halfway in, that it would come down to the last lap."
After a cagey opening, the excitement began a little earlier than Kilburg-Manganello predicted when Canada’s Lindsey Kent (CAN) attacked with three laps to go.
"That kind of stretched things out and allowed me to open my legs up a little bit," said Kilburg-Manganello, who managed to derail the Korean train of Park Ji Woo and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Kim Bo-Reum.
"They were both behind me with one to go,” Kilburg-Manganello said. “The Korean [Park] came around and jumped both the Canadian and myself, which worked out perfectly because I did not want to take the lead just yet.
“I followed her around, and out of the last corner I was able to come around."
The ISU Four Continents Championships will close off with the Ladies’ and Men’s 1000m and Team Pursuit events on Sunday.
Mia Kilburg-Manganello (USA) celebrates after crossing the line first in the Ladies' Mass Start in Milwaukee 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
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