Rapids skaters accelerate into new season

Members of the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were increasingly rapid as they kicked off a new season over the weekend.

Members of the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were increasingly rapid as they kicked off a new season over the weekend.

The speedy skaters set a total of 32 personal best times in their first club races of the season at the Canada Games Centre on Sunday.

“I know a lot of kids were skating quite well compared to what they were at last year, so I’m not surprised they got that many personal bests,” said Rapids head coach Phil Hoffman. “A lot of the younger kids seem to crank them out quite frequently … They’re growing and getting better at skating, too.”

However, personal best times couldn’t be partially attributed to physical growth for all the skaters. Masters (over-30) skater Andy Muir was the only one to set a PB in every event he raced, coming away with four.

“Andy is one of our masters skaters and he’s getting better too,” said Hoffman. “He’s been skating for a couple years – he’s one of the parents who got into it because his kid was skating, so he decided to come out and skate too. He’s getting better for sure.”

Rapids’ Cord Hamilton, Emma Hamilton, and Marsh Lake brothers Micah, Lucas and Caius Taggart-Cox all posted three PBs Sunday.

Isaac McPherson set four PBs in six events, breaking the one-minute mark in the 500-metre event.

“He was in our development group last year and I brought him up into our advanced group this season,” said Hoffman. “So it looks like he’s responding to skating more, getting more training in, more coaching, and he’s speeding up.”

Muir also beat one other skater in his division to win all four of his races, as did Joshua Lauer. Emma Hamilton beat two others to win all four of hers.

Winners were less consistent among the club’s top young skaters, who took part in five-person races. Micah Taggart-Cox won the 1,000-metre and the 3,000-metre, Shea Hoffman took the 500-metre and Michael Ritchie – who represented Yukon at the Canada Winter Games in February – won the 1,500-metre.

“The other kids were kind of using Shea as their rabbit and trying to chase him,” said Hoffman. “It paid off for them a little bit. They were able to take advantage of him pulling them for most of the race and take him at the line.”

The three Taggart-Cox brothers, Tristan Muir, Shea Hoffman and Ritchie will represent the Rapids club at a meet in Edmonton this weekend.

A total of 17 skaters took part in the season-opening races on Sunday.

“A few of those kids it was the first time they were racing because they just started,” said Phil. “So if was nice for them to get to race, see what it’s like.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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