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5 SKATERS QUALIFY FOR U.S. TEAM

Chris Witty wins races even when there isn't any pressure to be the first across the finish line.

Witty starred on a day in which five skaters qualified for the 1,000-meter race at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. The irony was that Witty had already qualified for that event.

Witty won the 500-meter race in 39.40 seconds, and set a Pettit National Ice Center record in the 1,000 of 1 minute, 19.31 seconds at the U.S. Long Track Olympic Trials. Witty, who earlier this year set a world record in the 1,000 of 1:15.43, bettered Bonnie Blair's 1995 track record of 1:19.43.

This is the first year skaters have been able to qualify for the U.S. team before the team trials, which continue today and resume next Saturday through Monday.

Both Rebecca Sundstrom of Glen Ellyn, Ill., who was second to Witty in both races (40.26 and 1:19.52), and Moira D'Andrea of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., third in both events (40.64 and 1:20.20), qualified at 1,000 meters.

Qualifying for 1,000 meters on the men's team were Cory Carpenter of Brookfield, Wis., who won in 1:12.98; KC Boutiette of Tacoma, Wash., who was second at 1:13.21 and had earlier qualified at 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters; and Nathaniel Mills of Washington, third at 1:13.96.

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