Rapids skaters speed to hardware at westerns

Western Canada's best young speedskaters got a taste of northern speed last weekend.

Western Canada’s best young speedskaters got a taste of northern speed last weekend.

Members of the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club posted personal best times and won hardware at the Canada West Short Track Championships in Edmonton, Alta.

“I think it was a good competition for all three of them,” said Rapids head coach Phil Hoffman. “They got some good experience racing at a little bit of a higher level than they’ve done before.”

The western championships saw over 100 of the fastest up-and-coming skaters from western Canada, Yukon and N.W.T. compete in T2T (Training to Train) development divisions.

“I don’t really think about how many people are in the meets. I just go, do my stuff,” said Whitehorse’s Tristan Muir.

Muir was the Rapids big winner in Edmonton with two medals in the T2T 12 boys division.

The 13-year-old zoomed to gold medal in the 2,000-metre points race and bronze in the 1,500-metre with a time of 2:42.701.

“It was really fun. I don’t have any complaints about it; it was a pretty awesome experience,” said Muir.

“(My performance) was good for the longer distances because I didn’t have to sprint too hard. But the sprints were hard for me because my starts were really slow for me this weekend. I have a bruised heel. So that was one downfall, but I was still super happy.”

Muir also took third in the 400-metre B final and third in the 200-metre pursuit C final.

“I think it was a bit of a breakout competition for him,” said Hoffman.

Haines Junction’s Michael Ritchie, 15, whizzed to bronze in the 3,000-metre points race in his T2T-15 division. Ritchie, who was Yukon’s lone speedskater at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, also raced to fourth in the 1,500-metre, setting a personal best time of 2:39.888 in his heat. He also claimed first place in the 400-metre B final and third in 200-metre B final.

Marsh Lake’s Micah Taggart-Cox, who was racing in T2T 13 boys, took second in the B final of the 2,000-metre points race. He also won the C final of the 1,500-metre with a time of 2:47.529.

“For those kids it was the biggest (meet) of the season,” said Hoffman. “Years ago we had someone go to this, but this was the first time we sent a team to this one.”

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