February 11th, 2019, Charlottetown – With the competitive season nearing its peak, Island speed skaters were in action on three fronts recently, including the Canadian Open National Qualifier in Montreal, Que., the Atlantic Canadian Short Track Championships in Dieppe, N.B., and the Atlantic Cup Long Track Championships in Halifax. All nine members of the Island short track and long track squads for the upcoming Canada Winter Games saw action.
Jenna Larter and Peter McQuaid, both members of Team P.E.I.’s short track contingent headed for the Canada Winter Games, posted strong results at the National Qualifier event in Montreal. Larter, of Brookfield, notched a new personal best in the 1500-metre distance, along with seasonal best times in the 1000-metre and 500-metre events, enroute to 45th place overall in the elite national event. McQuaid, likewise, put up a new personal best time in the 1000-metre event, taking three seconds off his previous mark. The Charlottetown skater also tallied seasonal best times in his 500- and 1500-metre events, enroute to 53rd place in the men’s field.
In Dieppe, N.B., the Island team of twenty-two skaters grabbed ten medals, including three gold. Charles Burke (Division 7), Tiernan Dewar (Division 11) and Una Grant (Division 12) snagged gold medals for the Island contingent. It was Burke’s second consecutive gold medal and third medal in three tries this season. The young speedster was also the highest overall finisher in his age group. Dewar won every race in every distance in his off-Island competitive debut, while Grant set new personal best times in all four distances enroute to her gold medal.
Zack O’Meara (Division 5), Jane Bruce (Division 7), Ava Bradley (Division 13 female) and Zyler O’Meara (Division 13 male) took home silver medals for P.E.I., while Alex Rogers (Division 6), Brendan Reynard (Division 8) and Saul Grant (Division 9) claimed bronze medals.
With Larter and McQuaid in Montreal, the remaining five members of the Island’s Canada Winter Games short track squad were also in Dieppe, where McQuaid’s four male team-mates raced for one day, including in an exhibition relay against their New Brunswick and Nova Scotia counterparts. The Island relay team showed their readiness, even without McQuaid, posting an unofficial time in the 3000-metre relay which was eight seconds below the P.E.I. provincial record set in 2007 and 16 seconds better than P.E.I.’s Canada Games relay record set in 2015.
At the Atlantic Cup Long Track Championships held on the Emera Oval in Halifax, three P.E.I. skaters took to the start line. Carter Bruce and Matthew McKenna raced in their final long track tune-up before they will represent P.E.I. in long track speed skating at the Canada Winter Games. Both were competing in the Olympic-style allround competition, with races in the 500-metre, 1000-, 1500- and 3000-metre distances. Bruce came up with the top Island finish at eighth place overall, highlighted by a strong fourth place showing in the 500-metre event. McKenna, of Brackley, took 11th place, with his best showing in the 1500-metre event, where he earned seventh. Jane Bruce picked up a bronze medal for 11-year-old girls in her first long track competition.
Canada Winter Games speed skating events get underway in Red Deer, Alta. this Saturday as the long track competitors take to the ice, followed by short track competitions on Sunday. All events will be streamed live at canadagames.live.
For full competition results and more information on Speed Skate PEI, visit www.speedskatepei.com.