March 20th, 2017, Charlottetown – Speed Skate PEI has unveiled its team for the 2017 Canada East Short Track Championships, taking place in Ottawa this weekend. After playing host to the event last year in Charlottetown, a team of eight Island athletes is set to travel to Ontario this year. The P.E.I. contingent will compete in a field of more than 120 of the best 11- to 15-year-old short track speed skaters from Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic Provinces and Nunavut.
Team P.E.I. will feature veterans Matt Kozma and Jenna Larter, both in their final year of Canada East eligibility. Kozma will compete in the 15-year-old boys category, while Larter will challenge the top Quebec and Ontario skaters in the 14-year-old girls category. Both are making their third appearance at the event. Kozma’s season has included new provincial records and consistent strong showings on the Maritime regional circuit, while Larter has also turned in a strong campaign, taking two gold medals and a silver in her three regional competitions this season.
Kyle Connell, Thomas McQuaid, Andrew Binns and Carter Bruce are also returning to the P.E.I. team this year. Connell and McQuaid will make their third Canada East appearances as well, while Binns and Bruce made their debuts last year on home ice.
Connell and McQuaid have each had multiple top ten results in their previous trips to Canada East, including teaming with Binns for a fifth place showing and new provincial record in the 3,000 metre relay for 12 and 13 year-old boys last year. Kozma, Connell and McQuaid will team in the relay for 14 and 15 year-old boys this year as they try to take down a four-year-old provincial record held by Jared Vriends, Mike Rogers and Zach Moran. Binns will look to build on his fifth place overall standing and pair of fourth place individual event finishes at home last year. Bruce had his best races of the year at last season’s event and will be aiming for the same this year.
New to the Island team are William Lyons and Addison Bruce, both of whom will compete in the 12-year-old boys category. Lyons has ranked at the top of his age group in regional meets this season and owns a new provincial record in the 1,500 metre distance. Bruce has also enjoyed a strong season thus far, taking home medals in three of four regional meets this year.
Sarah Taylor will be making her third trip to Canada East as coach of the P.E.I. squad.
For more information on The Canada East Short Track Speed Skating Championships, visit www.cest2017.ca.