Nesbitt Strikes Again

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) won her third race in as many attempts at the 2011 Canadian Single Distance Championships, today, as she dominated the field in the women’s 1000m. Many top contenders chose to sit out the women’s 5000m and men’s 10 000m in order to rest for next week’s continental championships, but Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) won the women’s title while Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON) came out victorious on the men side.

Nesbitt has been invincible this weekend, taking the Canadian Championship title in all her races so far (1000m, 1500m, 3000m) with fairly important margins. She still has the 500m to go tomorrow, but as it has been her weakest distance so far this season, competition will be fiercer.

The London skater crossed the 1000m finish line in 1:14.03 today, over two seconds before second place finisher Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) who has had a strong weekend as well, qualifying in all her races. Schussler completed the distance in 1:16.18, while fellow Winnipeg skater Shannon Rempel was third (1:16.54).

“I had a good race today,” said Nesbitt. “I liked it. I would have liked to race a 1:13, but this is close enough. It’s still one of the best times I’ve ever skated in the distance, with my fastest opener ever, so I’m pretty happy with it.”

Fourth place went to Edmonton’s Sarah Gregg (1:16.98), who should normally join her older brother Jamie on the World Cup circuit this winter as Canadian women have five spots to race the 1000m. Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) pulled out of the race at the last minute in order to avoid aggravating a small injury suffered during warm-up.

Different faces than usual were on the ice for the 5000m and 10 000m races, as many of Canada’s top contenders did not compete in it. Skaters were able to qualify for World Cup racing in those distance based on their results in the women’s 3000m and men’s 5000m so today’s races had no impact in World Cup qualification.

Ivanie Blondin raced a strong, steady race of 7:20.21 to win the title of the women’s 5000m. She was followed by Keara Maguire of British Columbia (7:37.10) and Lauren McGuire of Ontario (7:48.68). In the men’s 10 000m, Jordan Belchos completed the grueling race in a very respectable time of 13:53.41. Léo Landry (Chelsea, QC) was second in 14:00.49 and Stefan Waples of Manitoba third (14:05.32).

The Canadian Single Distance Championships will conclude tomorrow at the Calgary Olympic Oval with the presentation of the men and women’s 500m competition.