Ireland & Klassen lead sprint standings at speed skating nationals

Winnipeg long track speed skaters Mike Ireland and Cindy Klassen are the overall leaders in the men’s and women’s sprint standings after Thursday’s opening races at the Canadian championships.

In men’s competition, Ireland won both the 500 and 1,000-metre races to stand first in the sprint standings with 69.930 points. Brock Miron of Calgary is second at 70.925 and Éric Brisson of Ste-Foy, Que., third at 71.440.

Ireland, off to slow start in World Cup competition due to a groin injury, won the opening 500 in 35.27 seconds followed by Brisson at 35.46 and Miron third at 35.57. In the 1,000, Ireland clocked 1:09.32 for first spot with Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., second in 1:10.39 and Miron third in 1:10.71.

The top-three men this week qualify for the world sprint championships January 18-19 in Calgary. Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., who’s won all four World Cup 500 races this season has a bye on the team and did not race Thursday.

In women’s competition, Klassen showed she’s also an excellent sprinter placing second in the 500 and first in the 1,000 for first overall at 76.595 points. Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg is second at 77.675 and Kim Weger of Regina third at 78.135.

"My times should have been better," said Klassen, who’s won all three 1,500-metre World Cup races this season. "I expect my racing to be a lot more intense tomorrow (Friday). The world sprints is not my main focus this season but with the event in Calgary and the family on hand I’d like to be there."

Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon, who has a bye on the world sprint team, won the 500 in 38.08 then pulled up as she planned after 600-metres in the 1,000. Le May Doan has been battling a back injury this season.

Klassen was second in the 500 in 38.59 and Remepel third in 39.21. In the 1,000, Klassen won in 1:16.01 with Rempel second in 1:16.93 and Weger third 1:17.81.

The top-two women join Le May Doan on the world team.

The sprint competition ends Friday.



Thursday’s results at the Canadian long track speed skating championships in Calgary:

MEN

Sprints

500: 1. Mike Ireland, Winnipeg, 35.27; 2. Éric Brisson, Ste-Foy, Que., 35.46; 3. Brock Miron, Calgary, 35.57; 4. Mark Nielsen, Calgary, 35.72; 5. James Monson, Winnipeg, 35.93; 6. Sterling Sobczak, Winnipeg, 36.01; 7. Patrick Bouchard, Cap-Rouge, Que., 36.16; 8. Ian Houghton, Abbotsford, B.C., B.C., 36.36; 9. Mark Wild, Cambridge, Ont., 36.51; 10. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, 36.62.

1,000: 1. Ireland, 1:09.32; 2. Jason Parker, Yorkton, Sask., 1:10.39; 3. Miron, 1:10.71; 4. Sobczak, 1:11.24; 5. Peter Volcic, Cambridge, Ont., 1:11.34; 6. Wild, 1:11.80; 7. Brisson, 1:11.96; 8. Labrie, 1:12.04; 9. Houghton, 1:12.10; 10. Monson, 1:12.15.

Overall (after two of four races): 1. Ireland, 69.930 points; 2. Miron, 70.925; 3. Brisson, 71.440; 4. Sobczak, 71.630; 5. Parker, 71.825; 6. Monson, 72.005; 7. Houghton and Wild, 72.410; 9. Bouchard, 72.515; 10. Labrie, 72.640.

WOMEN

Sprints

500: 1. Catriona Le May Doan, Saskatoon, 38.08; 2. Cindy Klassen, Winnipeg, 38.59; 3. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 39.21; 4. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., and Kim Weger, Regina, 39.23; 6. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 40.04; 7. Sarah Smith, Calgary, 40.30; 8. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, 40.44; 9. Marie-Josée Ares-Pilon, Calgary, 40.82; 10. Marilou Asselin, Quebec, 40.83.

1,000: 1. Klassen, 1:16.01; 2. Rempel, 1:16.93; 3. Weger, 1:17.81; 4. Schussler, 1:18.10; 5. Myers, 1:18.14; 6. Wotherspoon, 1:19.08; 7. Smith, 1:19.77; 8. Asselin, 1:20.42; 9. Andrea Gordon, B.C., 1:21.67; 10. Mireille Savard, Quebec, 1:22.58.

Overall sprints (after two of four races): 1. Klassen, 76.595 points; 2. Rempel, 77.675; 3. Weger, 78.135; 4. Myers, 78.300; 5. Schussler, 79.490; 6. Wotherspoon, 79.580; 7. Smith, 80.185; 8. Asselin, 81.040; 9. Gordon, 82.435; 10. Ares-Pilon, 82.545.