Five skaters from the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were as rapid as ever over the weekend.
Not only did they produce some top finishes, they set a total of 18 personal best times at the Edmonton Short Track Ability Meet in Alberta, which featured over 150 skaters from throughout Western Canada.
They all achieved personal best times, despite competing on a narrower rink than what they are used to.
“The hosts had been hoping that they would have the wider Olympic-sized ice ready for the short-track speed skating competition but had to use a significantly narrower rink that posed a considerable challenge to skaters, like those from the Yukon, who train and compete on a bigger surface,” said Rapids coach Malcolm Taggart in a news release.
Marsh Lake brothers Caius and Lucas Taggart-Cox were burning it up in the younger L2T division 2, placing fifth and sixth overall, respectively.
Caius, who set personal best times in all three distances, placed first in the B final of the 400-metre, third in the A final for the 1,500-metre and fourth in the A final of the 200-metre.
Lucas raced to first in the B final of the 200-metre, third in the A final of the 400-metre and sixth in the A final of the 1,500-metre.
“Caius generally prefers the longer distances but this weekend he did very well in the 200-metre sprint, getting through to the A final and finishing fourth overall,” said Taggart. “His younger brother Lucas tends to like the shorter sprints but had his best races in the 400-metre distance, posting a personal best in placing third in the 400-metre A final.”
Haines Junction’s Michael Ritchie, Marsh Lake’s Micah Taggart-Cox and Whitehorse’s Tristan Muir were shaving
times in the competitive T2T division over the weekend.
Ritchie twice cut into his personal best time in the 400-metre, eventually placing second out of 16 racers in Tier 2. He also claimed fifth in the 200-metre, fifth in the 3,000-metre, in his respective divisions, and 21st out of 32 skaters in the Super Final of the 1,500-metre.
Micah made the Tier 2 final in three distances, taking fourth in the 3,000-metre, and sixth in the 400- and 200-metre events. He also topped his team with 10th in the 1,500-metre Super Final, in which skaters are placed into divisions based on their results in the 3,000-metre and 400-metre events.
“The 3,000-metre was a points race, so every seven laps they ring the bell and you skate as fast as you can and whoever crosses the line first gets the most points,” said Micah. “It was really interesting that there were three kids who sprinted off the line – it’s a really long race, so you don’t see that quite often. So three kids sprinted off the line and I tried to follow them, but they worked as a pack and conserved their energy by taking turns leading. So they lapped everybody, which was interesting. I had never experienced that before.”
Muir twice reached podium positions in races. He took second in the Tier 3 final of the 200-metre and third in the Tier 4 3,000-metre final. He also took eighth in the 400-metre for Tier 2 and placed 24th in the open 1,500-metre.
Ritchie is in the running to make Yukon’s team for the Canada Winter Games this February in Prince George, B.C.
Ritchie claimed three silver and a bronze in the juvenile male division at the Arctic Winter Games this past March in Fairbanks.
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