Ward 3 resident and School Without Walls student Nathaniel Casson recently solidified his record as one of the best teen speedskaters in the US, edging out top competitors to win metal at the National Championships in a field of 19 men, ages 15-16.
Casson, a junior, finished in first place in the regional Heartland competition held at the University of Illinois Ice Arena in Champaign, IL, March 2-3. The 2-day event featured top-ranked speedskaters from Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC. Skaters competed in 4 distances – 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.
Additionally, Casson, as described above, took home the 2019 National Silver Medal for men ages 15-16. He competed in strong field at the US Age-Group Short Track Speedskating National Championships in Verona, WI, March 22-24.
Short track speedskating is an Olympic sport in which athletes race on a 111.1-meter track at speeds of up to 40mph. Sometimes referred to as “NASCAR on ice,” short track speedskating is known for its exhilarating intensity and grace.
Casson trains all year around with the United Capital Blades Speedskating Club in Montgomery County, Maryland, and travels to competitions as far as Salt Lake City, Utah. He is one of the leading, most advanced skaters in the club, and is qualified to compete in the highest level US short track speedskating competitions.
“Success in speedskating requires focus, dedication and attention to detail. I enjoy the challenges and rewards, and of course the speed, of this sport,” says Casson.
The DC-ICE program at the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena provided a recreational base for Casson’s budding interest in speedskating 5 years ago. In 2015, at the age of 13, he joined UCB in order to elevate his training and compete at regional and national races.
Casson balances his schoolwork, skating and other extracurricular activities by combining time management and priority-setting. “It’s not always easy but I try to do my best at school and in skating, and also have time to relax.”