Ottawa’s Kristina Groves posts best times at 2004 Canada Post All Round Canadian Championships

Kristina Groves of Ottawa had pre-qualified for the world championships but that didn’t slow her down on Saturday as she posted her fastest times this year at the 2004 Canada Post All Round Canadian Championships long track speed skating competition.

Groves took the women’s 1,500-metre race in one minute and 59.25 seconds to finish more than a second ahead of Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., second in 2:00.58. Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton, Que., the defending all round champion, was third in 2:00.64.

“It was nice to not worry about making the world team and focus on the racing,” said Groves, fourth overall at the all round world championships last year. “I definitely needed to get some racing in to get my head back into it after the Christmas break. You always learn a lot with every race.”

In the 500, Simpson turned the tables on Groves with a win in 39.67 seconds, her best time this year. Groves posted a personal best 40.18 for second while Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was third in 40.21.

“It felt really good, I’ve been happy with my sprints lately,” said Simpson, 22, an all round specialist who qualified for the world sprint championships last month. “I’m a lot more aggressive now and today I managed to maintain a high tempo from start to finish.”

In the men’s 1,500, Jay Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., a national development team member who performed well on the World Cup in November, surprised an experienced field clocking 1:46.96 for the win.

Dustin Molicki of Calgary, who missed the first part of the season, was second in 1:47.80 while Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., better known as the number-one sprinter in the world, showed he has some endurance as well placing third in 1:47.84.

Olympic champion Casey Fitzrandolph of the U.S., who trains in Calgary, won the men’s 500 in 35.27 with Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., second in 35.98 and Sterling Sobczak of Winnipeg third in 36.26.

Competition continues through to Monday.

Saturday’s leading results at the 2004 Canada Post All Round Canadian Championships long track speed skating competition:



MEN


500:

1. Casey Fitzrandolph, U.S., 35.27 seconds

2. Brock Miron, Cornwall, Ont., 35.98

3. Sterling Sobczak, Winnipeg, 36.26

4. Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., 36.70

5. Jay Morrison, Fort St. John, 36.84

6. Peter Volcic, Kitchener, Ont., 36.86

7. Jeff Moir, Oakville, Ont., 36.91

8. (tie) Kent Toth, Calgary, 36.95

8. (tie) Mark Wild, Cambridge, Ont., 36.95

10. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, Que., 36.97.




1,500


1. Jay Morrison, Fort St. John, 1:46.96

2. Dustin Molicki, Calgary, 1:47.80

3. Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 1:47.84

4. Steven Elm, Red Deer, 1:48.23

5. Peter Volcic, Kitchener, Ont., 1:48.32

6. Casey Fitzrandolph, U.S., 1:48.41

7. Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., 1:48.83

8. Jeff Kitura, Langley, B.C., 1:49.23

9. Justin Warsylewicz, Regina, Sask., 1:49.26

10. Dustin Johnson, Moose Jaw, Sask., 1:50.26.



WOMEN


500


1. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 39.67

2. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, Ont., 40.18

3. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 40.21

4. Cindy Overland, Kitchener, Ont., 40.24

5. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 40.46

6. Tiffany Hughes, Kingston, Ont., 40.56

7. Tara Risling, Medicine Hat, Alta., 40.69

8. Marie-Josée Arès-Pilon, Calgary, Alta., 40.72

9. Marilou Asselin, Quebec City, Que., 40.93

10. Christine Nesbitt, London, Ont., 41.16.



1,500


1. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, Ont., 1:59.25

2. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 2:00.58

3. Clara Hughes, Glen Sutton, Que., 2:00.64

4. Cindy Overland, Kitchener, Ont., 2:00.73

5. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 2:01.39

6. Tara Risling, Medicine Hat, Alta., 2:01.55

7. Tiffany Hughes, Kingston, Ont., 2:02.19

8. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, Man., 2:03.37

9. Marilou Asselin, Québec, Que., 2:03.95

10. Michele D’Amours, Ste-Foy, Que., 2:04.46.