Alberta skaters win in 1000m at North American Speed Skating Championships

Calgary, AB - - Alberta speed skaters Kelsey Duffield (Red Deer, AB) and Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) won the senior and junior 1000m races at the Olympic Oval today in the 2009 North American Championships, helping them prepare for upcoming international competitions and earning points towards qualifying for next year’s National Development Team.

Duffield, 23, won the 1000m in 1:18.69, with Gregg, 19, winning the junior 1500m race in 1:18.73, only .04 seconds off of Duffield’s senior time.

“It was a really good race, it was a personal best for me by more than .30 seconds,” said Gregg. “I was hoping to skate under 1:19.00 and I wanted to go out aggressively and I achieved what I wanted.”

Last month at the Canadian Junior Championships Gregg won all but one of her races to claim the overall Canadian Junior Champion title and at the Canada Cup #1 competition, where she competed with senior skaters, she placed in the top ten for all five of her races.

Gregg, the daughter of Stanley Cup Champion Randy Gregg, is now preparing for the World Junior Championships in Zakopane, Poland.

Next to Gregg in the junior 1000m race were Kaylin Irvine, second in 1:20.43 and Marsha Hudey, third in 1:20.89. In the junior 3000m Olympic Oval skaters Madeline Martin, Keara Maguire and Brianne Tutt finished first, second and third in 4:19.07, 4:20.34 and 4:23.46 respectively.

In the senior ladies 1000m, Duffield, who is part of Canada’s National Development Team, has been consistently winning Canada’s senior ladies competitions. Today’s win in the 1000m is her sixth first place finish out of 13 races (from Canada Cup #1, #2 and North American Championships).

“I am happy that I was first in the 1000m today, but I didn’t feel that I raced to my full potential,” said Duffield. “These are good results for me though, and it is a major improvement from last year. It puts me in a good spot for making the Development Team next year.”

Nicole Garrido, on Canada’s National Team and also from Alberta, was second to Duffield in the 1000m with a time of 1:19.50 and American Jilleanne Rookard was third in 1:19.74.

Good results also came from Albertan Keith Sulzer (Calgary), who was the top Canadian and second in the men’s 5000m race in 6:32.87. In first place was Latvian skater Haralds Silovs, in 6:27.45, and third place went to Andrew Godbout, from Nova Scotia, in 6:34.24.

“This is good preparation for the FISU Games that are coming up,” said Sulzer, a University of Calgary Economics student who is qualified for Canada’s long track team going to the 24th Winter Universiade (FISU Games) in Harbin, China. “I wanted to skate another consistent race and be strong all the way to the finish. I am happy with this result.”

In the senior men’s 1500m competition National Development Team skater Mykola Makowsky (Regina, SK) won with a personal best time of 1:46.43. National Development Team skater Alexandre Garant (Quebec, QC) came second in 1:46.73 and National Development Team skater Jeff Kitura (Langley, BC) was third in 1:47.79. Makowsky is also set to compete in the FISU Games later this month.

In junior men’s competition American Laurence Ducker won the 1500m race in 1:49.91. Canadians Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu finished second in 1:50.29 and Leo Landry was third in 1:51.51.

Today’s last race, the junior men’s 5000m, ended with Landry, Scott Bickerton and Gelinas-Beaulieu winning the top three places. All three athletes lowered their personal best times by more than 10 seconds each.

Tomorrow racing continues in the men’s and ladies 500 and 1000m, ladies 5000m and men’s 10,000m. Complete race results will be available at http://oval.ucalgary.ca/results/long_track

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For more information contact:
Bridget Cox
Communications Specialist
Olympic Oval
Phone: (403) 210.8568
Cell: (403) 389.7739
Email: bcox@ucalgary.ca