HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
Despite some personal bests, Team Yukon short track speed skaters are mid-pack or skimming the bottom of the standings so far at the Canada Winter Games this week in Halifax. But with a couple races still to go, it’s not too late for redemption.
“They didn’t have the best results,” said Yukon head coach Phil Hoffman. “They are skating OK. I think yesterday they came out with opening-day jitters and they all didn’t skate up to potential.”
Whitehorse’s Heather Clarke has faired the best in the three-person skipped skating crew, so far. On Monday, she topped the Yukon results thus far, taking 21st in the 500-metre, breaking into the top half of the field of 49 skaters.
“My third race (in the 500-metre) I kind of slipped on the start, so my time wasn’t as fast, but I was catching the group near the end,” said Clarke. “If there was another lap or so, I think I would have caught them.”
Like her teammates, Clarke, who finished 29th in the 1,500-metre race to open the Games, will be strapping up the skates again on Wednesday for the 1,000-metre.
“My favourite is the 1,000-metre; I love the 1,000 because it’s kind of a long sprint,” said Clarke. “I’m really excited for it.”
Yukon’s Donald Fortune produced a pair of personal bests on Monday on his way to a 34th place finish in the 500-metre. He started the Games finishing 44th in the 1,500-metre.
“With the amount of training that I did, I don’t think I could have done any better,” said Fortune. “I’m feeling good about it. I didn’t have any falls.”
Teammate Shea Hoffman started his stay in Halifax coming last in the 1,500-metre but managed to make up ground in the 500-metre, coming 43rd.
“They’ve been pretty good,” said Hoffman. “I skated well today. I was close to personal bests, but I just didn’t make them today.”
After Wednesday’s 1,000-metre event, the Yukoners will wrap-up the Games with the “Super 1,500” on Thursday. Seeded into heats of six skaters based on their previous results, the entire field of 49 skaters (in both boys and girls) will have one shot for a best time and placement in a 1,500-metre race.
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