The men's 500m quarterfinals are set in short track's fastest discipline.
Ryan Pivirotto, the only U.S. skater who qualified, will join them. No American has medaled in the men's 500m since Apolo Ohno in 2006.
Eight heats took place, and the top two finishers automatically advanced. Those with the four fastest third-place times also passed through.
Hungary's Liu Shaolin won Heat 1 by more than a second. He missed out on a gold medal last Monday due to penalties assessed during the 1000m final, so the title went to China's Ren Ziwei. Ren finished first in Heat 2.
Canada's Steven Dubois, the 1500m silver medalist, took the victory in Heat 3 with the fastest time of the opening three races. He got out in front early from the inside starting position.
Hwang finished in second place behind Azhgaliyev, while Pivirotto crossed the line third. The American advanced with a qualifying third-place time.
The final three rounds of the men's 500m competition will continue on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET.
The men's 5000m relay also took place on Friday as five teams advanced to the A Final.
Canada and Italy made it out of Group A with the former winning the race. China was in second place before a fall occurred with 10 of 44 laps remaining. However, the lead official passed China through due to an interference.
South Korea won Group B, and the ROC came from behind to swipe second place away from the Netherlands in a photo finish. The Russians qualified by 0.002 seconds.
The defending gold medalist Hungarian team finished fourth in Group B.
Canada is the reigning World Cup champion while the Netherlands won at the 2021 World Championships.
The final will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 16.