Denny Morrison & Kristina Groves qualify for third event at long track speed skating World Cup trials

National team sophomore Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., and veteran Kristina Groves of Ottawa both qualified for their third individual events at the long track speed skating World Cup team trials on Saturday with victories in the 1,000-metre races.

In the men’s 1,000, Morrison clocked 1:09.07 finishing ahead of François-Olivier Roberge of Ste-Foy, Que., in second in 1:09.22 and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., third in 1:09.38. All three posted personal best times.

Elm, Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., and Brock Miron of Calgary were pre-qualified in the event for the fall World Cups while Morrison and Roberge added their names with Saturday’s performance.

‘’I got a good time but I didn’t get the exact feel I wanted,’’ said Morrison, who also qualified last weekend in the 1,500 and 5,000 metres. ‘’So there’s areas I can improve. I tried to approach the race the same as I would a 1,500 by skating it as relaxed as possible with consistent laps and no drop-off.’’

In the women’s 1,000, Chiara Simionato of Italy was the winner in 1:15.94 with Groves second in a personal best 1:16.42 and Beixing Wang of China third in 1:16.93. Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., was fourth in 1:17.34.

‘’I did a practice 1,000 two weeks ago and did a big personal best so I knew I was capable of doing well in this event,’’ said Groves, already pre-qualified in the 1,500 and 3,000. ‘’My top-end speed this year is definitely a lot better. That’s something I can take to my 1,500 because I need to start hard enough so I can get more speed sooner.’’

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., and Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg were pre-qualified for the World Cups in the event while Groves and Simpson added their names.

Calgary hosts the season opening World Cup next Saturday and Sunday.