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A year older and more experienced, Samantha Snyder is ready for another shot at the world stage.

The Wauwatosa East senior has qualified for the 10-person team -- five men and five women -- that will represent the United States at the Long Track Junior World Championships at the Oulunkyla Sport Park in Helsinki, Finland from Feb. 17-19.

Snyder is one of two members of the United States team to earn a spot on the team for the second consecutive year. She competed last March in Changchun, China.

This time around, Snyder feels more prepared for each aspect of the experience.

"I've learned how to travel," Snyder said. "It sounds kind of funny, but traveling is a really hard thing to do on your body. I have more experience with that. I also have more experience competing against world-class athletes.

"Most of the athletes I will be competing against are on senior World Cup teams and are potentially going to make the Olympic team in the next few years. I have more experience already having competing against them."

Since taking 33rd in the 3,000 meters at Junior World Championships in 2016 with a time of 4 minutes, 54.71 seconds, Snyder has spent the past year changing her skating technique in order to lower her times. She increased the time she spends training on dry land in the summer and spends around 21 hours per week training at the Petit National Ice Center during the school year.

The goal? Get lower while skating to become more aerodynamic.

"A lot has changed," Snyder said. "I focused a lot on changing my technique for skating to get faster times for a better representation at this year's Worlds. I put a lot more hours in. The hours really racked up a lot faster. We just added a lot of training time.

"It took me about a year and a half to change completely. (Being lower and more aerodynamic) helps you become a more efficient skater. The more efficient you are as a speed skater, the faster you will be."

The training paid off, as Snyder posted the top time among juniors in the 1,500 meters at 2 minutes, 8.67 seconds at the United States Long Track Championships, which were held Jan. 6-8 in Salt Lake City.

"That was a personal best for me," Snyder said. "That was the best 1,500 I've had. It was a really exciting feeling. I wasn't expecting to do that. It was really a good feeling knowing my training had paid off and I was able to pull through and win."

She also posted a time of 4 minutes, 37.86 seconds -- nearly 17 seconds faster than her time at the Junior World Championships -- in the 3,000 meters to qualify in that event. By having the necessary times to make the United States team for the Junior World Championships in the 1,500 and 3,000, Snyder also is able to compete in team events.

Snyder will skate in the 1,500 meters, the 3,000 meters and in the team pursuit in Finland.

"I'm hoping to place top 20," Synder said. "I want to at least be in the middle of the pack of the whole competition. I'm going in there hoping for a great competition. I don't have too high of expectations for anything."

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