Ivannie Blondin & Guillaume Blais-Dufour make history at Canadian Junior Championships

Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) and Guillaume Blais-Dufour (Québec, QC) both finished second in the overall standings of the Canadian Junior Championships that concluded today at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Canada's team for the 2009 World Junior Championships, to be held February 20th to 22nd in Zakopane, Poland, will be confirmed later this week by Speed Skating Canada, but unless a major surprises happens, both athletes should be selected, getting the opportunity to represent Canada at the short and long track World Junior Championships the same year.

Richard MacLennan of Ontario took the Canadian Junior title, and he should also be skating all distances at the World Junior Championships. The men’s team should likely be completed with William Dutton for the sprint distances and Scott Bickerton for the long distance races.

“It's pretty cool to do so well in long track traces,” said a satisfied Blais-Dufour. “I am more of a short track racer but I had great races. I won three races and finished in the top 4 in two more. To be honest I thought I would do well in sprint distances but I couldn't have imagined doing so well in all distances. I can't wait for the World Juniors but I'm not sure of what to expect in long distances. I think seeing Poland should be lots of fun.”

On the ladies' side, Canadian junior champion Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) and Blondin should represent Canada for the all-around portion of the World Junior Championships, while Kate Hanly will partake in the sprint component and Brianne Tutt will skate the long distances.

“I came here wanting to enjoy myself,” said Blondin. “My first race went well and so did my second race. Then, things kept going well for my third race. That's when I realized that I had a real chance of going far. It's also when I started to get nervous. In general, things went great. I think being a short track skater helped, many people mentionned that my cornering was very agressive and fast. In short track, you have no choice but to be speedy in turns.”

MacLennan (36.55) continued his winning streak on the men’s side by taking first place in the 500m. Blais-Dufour (37.13) came in second and Saskatchewan’s William Dutton (37.21) finished third.

MacLennan won his second race of the day by crossing the finish line the fastest in the 1000m. William Dutton was second and Kevin Plante of Alberta took third place.

On the ladies' side, three skaters from Alberta took the top places in the 500m. Kate Hanly (40.93) finished first while Kaylin Irvine (40.95) came in second and Sarah Gregg (41.41) took third place. In the 1000m, Gregg was first, followed by Irvine. Third place went to Blondin.

In the Canada Cup #2 races, Albertan skaters dominated the ladies' 500m. Kelsey Duffield took gold with a time of 40.42 seconds. Anastasia Bucsis (40.70) was second while Tobey Berriault was third (41.26).

Duffield, dominating this weekend, then went on to win her second race of the day in the 1000m with a time of 1:20.60. Justine L'Heureux (St-Tite, QC) was second of the group in 1:21.27. Anastasia Bucsis finished third thanks to a time of 1:22.69.

Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) won the 5000m race with a time of 7:32.13. Shannon Sibold (Calgary, AB) raced to second place (7:34.15), less than two seconds behind Garrido, and Madeleine Martin finished third in 7:40.78.

On the men's side, Brock Miron (Cornwall, ON) won the 500m. Miron crossed the finished line in 36.63 seconds. Myles Matheson (36.70) of Ontario finished secon and Alberta's Jeong-Hyun Lee (36.84) was third of the group.

In the 1000m, Alexandre Garant (Québec, QC) took gold with a time of 1:11.74. Mykola Makoswky (Regina, SK) finished second (1:11.96). Brock Miron came in third place with a time of 1:12.08.

To conclude the event, Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON) won the 10 000m race with a time of 13:42.62. Following Belchos in second place was fellow Ontarian Andrew Godbout (14:11.28). Stefan Waples finished third with a respectable time of 14:23.53.