Denny Morrison breaks Canadian junior record for second straight day at sprint nationals

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., broke his third Canadian junior record this month on Tuesday to highlight second day action at the Canada Post sprint championships long track speed skating competition.

In the men’s 1,000, the 19-year-old Morrison clocked one minute and 09.83 seconds to eclipse his own national junior mark of 1:10.39 set last year. Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was second in 1:10.42 and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., third in 1:10.66.

On Monday, Morrison lowered the 500 junior record and last week he beat the 1,500 junior mark at the all around nationals. Morrison’s key competition this year is the world juniors in February. Last year he placed fourth overall.

"I didn’t really know what to expect out of tonight’s race," said Morrison. "But the ice was very fast. Now I’m looking forward to lowering my times even more later this season. I give a lot of credit to my coach (Marcel Lacroix) who has prepared us very well and made sure we’re skating strong throughout the year."

James Monson of Winnipeg, who won the two 500 races on Monday, is still first overall after three of four races with 106.920 points. Brock Miron of Calgary is second at 107.300 and Bélanger third at 107.720.

The competition also serves as a qualifying event for upcoming World Cups and the world sprint championships. World champion Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., has pre-qualified and is not racing this week.

In women’s competition, Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg is en route to the Canadian sprint crown after earning her third win in three races with a victory in the 1,000. Klassen clocked 1:15.45 with Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg second in a season-best 1:17.60 and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., third in 1:18.22.

Klassen is now in a position to race at both the all around world championships and sprint world championships later this winter. In 2003, she won the all around world crown and was second at the sprint worlds.

After three of four distances, Klassen totals, 115.435 points, Myers is second at 117.440 and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., third at 119.025. Schussler is sixth at 119.620 and needs another top notch race it he 1,000 on Wednesday to gain the coveted berth on the world sprint team.

"It would be nice to get that spot on the world team but so far I’m happy with my progress this year," said Schussler, 19, in her first full season with the senior national team. "December has gone very well for me and to make World Cup events in two distances this year is very satisfying."

Competition ends Wednesday.