Stillwater speed skater earns new personal best

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Photo by Kathleen Pothen

Speed skaters practice at the Roseville Oval Dec 16. The skater pictured above is leaning forward in a sitting position. This is an identifying feature of speed skating because this pose is unnatural, speed skaters must train their body to hold this position.

By Kathleen Pothen, Stillwater Area High School

Junior and speed skater Milan Jostes competes with the Midway Speedskating Club. The Midway Speedskating Club is based at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval. According to the city of Roseville website the Oval includes both an indoor arena, a sprawling 110,000 square feet outside rink and is home to an adult bandy league. Trees hung with rainbow strands of lights during the holidays surround the rink. Depending on the time, different styles of skating take place, including, hockey played in the center, bandy played across the entire sheet or public skaters and speed skaters skating around in a circle.

Five days a week, Jostes trains during the winter at this facility. He competes in a sport not many have the opportunity to try. Along with his teammates he works hard by following “the motto, go fast turn left,” Jostes said.

I am teaching them how to be good athletes and how to challenge themselves. They should never feel comfortable, they should be challenged with each activity that they do.”

— Sarah Krueger

In speed skating there are two types of races called short track and long track. Jostes competes in long track. Long track skaters compete on a 400 meter oval, similar to a running track. Short track skaters race on a hockey sized rink.  Short track skaters have fixed blades on their skate boot while long track skaters use clap skates, in which the blades are partially fixed to the skate boot and make a clapping noise every time the skater strokes. Because the blade partially detaches, the skaters has greater extension in their strokes.

Jostes’ Beginnings Skating

Jostes began skating not as a speed skater, but as a figure skater. After watching the Olympics, he became inspired to try speed skating. Four years ago he became a member of the Twin Cities Speed Skating team based in Plymouth. When they closed down, he moved to The Midway team in Roseville.

Sarah Krueger coaches Jostes currently. She was avid skater as a child.  She was  member of the Saratoga Springs short track team. She also trained at Lake Placid for short track speed skating and raced in the Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City.

Jostes explains his coach pushes his physical limitations to be a better skater. She experiments with interesting drills such as skating in hockey skates to improve his speed.

Krueger said she is “not just teaching them how to be good speed skaters, but I am teaching them how to be good athletes and how to challenge themselves. They should never feel comfortable, they should be challenged with each activity that they do.”

Looking towards the future

Jostes qualified for The American Cup, also known as the Am Cup, a series of speed skating races in Milwaukee earlier in the season.

Dec. 6-8 Jostes competed in part two of the American Cup at Roseville and gained a personal record in the 500 meter race, potentially allowing him to qualify for a junior world team.

Krueger said about Jostes, “You can see that he is passionate about doing his best and giving his all in every race. I think he even surprised himself in a few races this past Am cup when he got a personal best.”

Jostes also challenges himself academically by taking PSEO classes. He competes as a member of the school’s robotics team as well.

Jostes hopes to speed skate after high school but with a limited availability of rinks, he is uncertain if he will be able to continue.

Jostes explained he likes to speed skate because “speed skating is just like a place to be able to relax and have fun because all the people there are really nice, and they’re really fun to hang out with. So, after a long day of school, going to speed skating and being able to just skate is a lot of fun.”

This story was originally published on The Pony Express on February 7, 2020.