- Associated Press - Saturday, August 19, 2017

KEARNS, Utah (AP) - Three-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski had a been-here, done-that look Saturday after he dominated the sprint day, but his young counterpart on the women’s side couldn’t have been more excited.

Celski and upstart Maame Biney swept the men’s and women’s 500-meter finals on Day 2 of the U.S Speedskating Short Track World Cup Qualifier.

Celski won his two finals in 41.578 seconds and 41.794, and the 17-year-old Biney won with a personal-best 43.873 and 44.201.

Celski has won three of his four races over the two days, which isn’t exactly a shock for the United States’ most decorated current Olympic short-track skater.

The qualifier consists of three days of racing with a single distance each day. There are two rounds of the individual distance every day with points assigned by where each skater finishes. At the end of the three days, the top two point earners from each individual distance will earn World Cup spots. The even wraps up with two rounds of the 1,000 on Sunday.

“It’s always nice to come out and skate fast in the 500,” Celski said. “The first two rounds didn’t feel too great, we weren’t skating very fast. As the day went on, we started dropping the times a little bit and that helps with the confidence of our guys to know we can skate fast.”

Aaron Tran placed second in the first final with a time of 41.729 and John-Henry Krueger was third in 41.836.

Thomas Insuk Hong was the runner-up in the second final with a time of 41.864 and Keith Carroll Jr. was third in 42.219.

After two days of racing, Celski leads the men’s overall standings, with Krueger and Hong trailing. All three wrapped up spots on the World Cup team Friday.

Celski, however, isn’t really point watching.

“It’s easy to let it creep in a bit, but I’m not really focused on that,” Celski said. “I’m focused on going out and making sure I’m skating right. We practice so much, it’s rare that we actually skate competition.

“As far as points go, I don’t really tend to think about it too much. I just try to go out there and win it.”

Biney is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. This is her first year of competition that she’s a legit contender to make the Olympic team. She couldn’t stop smiling at the end of the day, which matches her effervescent personality.

“I love 500s, but having two of them is so exhausting,” Biney said. “I was talking to coach Anthony (Barthell) and the team psychologist and I was saying how nervous I was because I just came from a club that I loved … but we weren’t doing that much speed.

“I’ve never really raced against (2014 Olympian Jessica Kooreman) before. I was like, ‘Calm down, it’s OK, it’s OK.’”

Lana Gehring took second in the first final in 44.078 while Kooreman was third with a time of 44.188.

Kimberly Goetz finished second in the last final in 44.412 and Gehring placed third after crossing the line in 45.618.

Biney leads the women overall standings, with Kooreman and Gehring following. Those three also secured spots on the team.

Kooreman did not participate in the second final after falling during the semifinal and suffering an upper body injury. She is expected to participate Sunday.

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