Plenty of personal bests as Canada Cup begins in Calgary

Canadian athletes compete in the Canada Cup series to win points to qualify for National and Development team positions. On the first day of competition of the Canada Cup #1, over 75 skaters improved their personal best times. Among the skaters trying to make a name for themselves were several familiar faces. Most notably, Shannon Rempel who won the ladies 500m, while on the men’s side Vincent Labrie took the gold in the same distance.

Manitoban Matthew Mclean finished in second place behind Labrie coming in a tenth of second behind the leader. Quebec’s Muncef Ouardi took third place with a time of 35.72 seconds.

“I was injured earlier this season and had to take a break in November and December. This race is a return to competition for me. While I am satisfied with my performance, there are still things to improve,” said Vincent Labrie. “I will use this week-end’s competition to prepare for the World Cups. On Sunday I will race again and this time I want to focus on improving my speed and having a better execution.”

Coming back from an injury, Alberta’s native Brock Miron stepped on the highest step of the podium with a time of 1:9.58 in the men`s 1000m. Alexandre Garant from Quebec came in second, less then five tenth of a second behind Miron, and Matthew Mclean finished third to win his second medal of the day.

In the junior men’s 3000m, first place was awarded to Richard Maclennan of Ontario who raced the distance in 3:53.82. William Dutton from Saskatchewan finished second while British Colombia’s Scott Bickerton took third place with times of 3:56.72 and 3:57.87 respectively.

In the ladies’ 500m, Danielle Wotherspoon of Alberta took silver, thanks to a time of 39.67 seconds. Saskatchewan native Kim Weger was awarded the bronze medal finishing 0.3 seconds behind Wotherspoon.

“I am using this race to prepare for the Continental qualifier and the World Sprint Championships”, said Shannon Rempel after her race. “I have skated longer distances in recent races and I need to be comfortable mentally with shorter distances. I will focus on improving my top speed in sprints in the coming week.”

The ladies’ 1500m was dominated by Albertans. Kelsey Duffield took the gold with a time of 2:00.55, Shannon Sibold finished second followed by Sarah Gregg in third place.

The competition goes on until Sunday. Tomorrow, the ladies will skate the 1000m and the 3000m while the men will race the 1500m and the 5000m.