Speed skaters set personal bests at championships

Before the start of the Yukon Speed Skating Championships on Sunday, skaters were asked if they were going to achieve personal bests at the event.

Before the start of the Yukon Speed Skating Championships on Sunday, skaters were asked if they were going to achieve personal bests at the event.

A resounding cheer echoed around the ATCO ice surface at the Canada Games Centre, and their performances proved they weren’t kidding.

Jacob McPherson, Anders Petersson, Andy Muir and Caleb McPherson achieved four personal bests each while Emma Hamilton, Caius Taggart-Cox and Lucas Taggart-Cox had three each.

In total, 22 skaters from Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Marsh Lake set a record 35 personal bests at the event.

Emma Hamilton was the standout racer, winning all four of her distances: the 200 metres, 300 metres, 400 metres and 1,000 metres.

Andy Muir performed well in the Masters division, beating Cord Hamilton in three different races but coming up second to Pauline Craig in the 1,500 metre race.

Coach Phil Hoffman said the performances could be due to the fact that racers didn’t get many opportunities to skate this winter.

“Especially the younger kids, when they get a chance to race, they want to set a personal best,” he said.

It marked the end of a successful season for the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club.

Whitehorse’s Shea Hoffman and Haines Junction’s Michael Ritchie both set personal best times and reached single digits at the Western Canadian Single Distance Short Track Championships at the Richmond Oval in November.

“They got a really good experience out of that,” Hoffman said.

In December, five skaters from the club set a total of 18 personal best times at the Edmonton Short Track Ability Meet, which featured over 150 skaters from Western Canada.

Ritchie was the only Yukon speed skater at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., in February.

As one of only three 14-year-olds in the under-20 competition, he’s still eligible for the 2019 Games.

Seven members of the club travelled to Calgary in February to take part in the RU Fast races at the Calgary Oval.

But some of the racers came down with the flu, which limited their abilities to compete.

Hoffman said the club is now turning its attention to the 2016 Arctic X Games, which Whitehorse will host next year.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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