Winnipeg’s Shannon Rempel sweeps opening races at 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships

A nasty head cold didn’t deter Winnipeg’s Shannon Rempel on Sunday as she won the opening 500 and 1,000-metre races at the 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships long track speed skating competition.

In the 500, Rempel clocked 39.17 seconds for the win with Kim Weger of Regina second at 39.43 and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., third at 39.51. In the 1,000, Rempel prevailed again in 1:17.84 with Myers second in 1:18.05 and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., third in 1:18.12.

"The hardest thing for me today was breathing," said the 19-year-old Rempel, who had a strong start to the World Cup season this fall with four top-10 results in seven races. "My lungs were just burning. So considering how I was feeling, it was a pretty good day."

Rempel, the reigning world junior champion, has a commanding lead overall at 78.090, followed by Myers at 78.535 and Weger at 78.790. At last year’s sprint nationals Rempel was second to Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, currently injured.

While Rempel appears on track for the national sprint crown, it’s much more wide open on the men’s side.

In the 500, James Monson of Winnipeg was the winner in 35.69 with Mark Nielsen of Calgary second in 35.74 and defending sprint champion Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., third in 36.02. In the 1,000, Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., took gold in 1:10.94 with Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., second in 1:10.99 and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke Que., third in 1:11.30.

Monson fell in the 1,000 race on the second turn and is out of the running for the Canadian title.

"I had a really good opener and I was trying to gain speed but on the first crossover my left foot shot out as if I stepped on a puck," said Monson. "I must have stepped on something because I checked my blades after and there were no stripped edges."

Parker, a world championship medallist, has struggled this year and was encouraged by his 1,000 showing.

"It was my best race of the year," he said. "It felt a lot more effortless out there which is a good sign. I’ve been really fighting to get that feeling this year. I relaxed a bit more and just let it happened. It would great to start the second half of the season on a good note."

At the halfway point of the competition, Bélanger holds the overall lead with 71.810 points followed by Parker at 71.870 and Miron at 71.900.

The competition ends Monday with another set of 500 and 1,000 metre races. The competition will also finalize the Canadian teams for the world sprint championships in January and the rest of the World Cup circuit.

World champion Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., and Mike Ireland of Winnipeg pre-qualified for both those teams and are not competing at nationals.

Sunday’s results at the 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships long track speed skating competition at the Olympic Oval in Calgary (all distances in metres):



MEN



500

1. James Monson, Winnipeg, 35.69

2. Mark Nielsen, Calgary, 35.74

3. Brock Miron, Cornwall, Ont.

3. Éric Brisson, Ste-Foy, Que., 36.02

5. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 36.16

6. Peter Volcic, Kitchener, Ont., 36.29

7. Sterling Sobczak, Winnipeg, 36.32

8. Jason Parker, Yorkton, Sask., 36.40

9. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, 36.53

10. Jeff Moir, Oakville, Ont., 36.58.



1,000

1. Jason Parker, 1:10.94

2. Steven Elm, Red Deer, Alta., 1:10.99

3. Jean-René Bélanger

3. Dustin Molicki, Calgary, 1:11.30

5. Jay Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C.

5. Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, 1:11.37

7. Peter Volcic, 1:11.,45

8. Brock Miron, 1:11.76

9. Jeff Kitura, Langley, B.C., 1:12.19

10. Sterling Sobczak, 1:12.28.

Overall (after two of four races)

1. Bélanger, 71.810

2. Parker, 71.870

3. Miron, 71.900

4. Nielsen, 71.940

5. Volcic, 72.015

6. Brisson, 72.165

7. Denny Morrison, 72.445

8. Sobczak, 72.460

9. Molicki, 72.570

10. Jay Morrison, 72.705.


WOMEN

500

1. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 39.17 seconds

2. Kim Weger, Regina, 39.43

3. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 39.51

4. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 40.23

5. Marie-Josee Ares-Pilon, Calgary, 40.32

6. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 40.47

7. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, 40.60

8. Marilou Asselin, Quebec City, 40.80

9. Tiffany Hughes, Kingston, Ont., 40.92

10. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, 40.97.

1,000

1. Shannon Rempel, 1:17.84

2. Krisy Myers, 1:18.05

3. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 1:18.12

4. Kristina Groves, 1:18.62

5. Kim Weger, 1:18.72

6. Brittany Schussler, 1:19.15

7. Clara Hughes, Glen Sutton, Que., 1:19.64

8. Tiffany Hughes, Kingston, Ont., 1:19.67

9. Sarah Smith, 1:20.62

10. Wotherspoon, 1:20.79.

Overall (after two of four races)

1. Rempel, 78.090

2. Myers, 78.535

3. Weger, 78.790

4. Groves, 79.910

5. Schussler, 80.545

6. Wotherspoon, 80.625

7. Tiffany Hughes, 80.775

8. Smith, 80.780

9. Asselin, 81.365

10. Clara Hughes, 81.980.