Gregg top Canadian at World Sprint Championships

Jamie Gregg top Canadian at World Sprint Championships
Gregg was also second and Gilmore Junio third in today’s 500 m, Nesbitt was second in the 1000 m

– Veteran national team member Jamie Gregg had a personal best time of one minute and 7.85 seconds for fourth place in the 1,000 metres and took second place in the 500 metres to finish a career best fourth overall at the Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships at the Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Competing in his fourth world sprint championships, the Edmonton native finished fourth overall with 136.060 points after four races, which was only 0.015 points away from stepping on the podium. The World Sprint Championships featured the 500- and 1,000-metre distances. The overall points are determined by adding the two 500-metre times and half of both 1,000-metres times.

“I think I skated pretty consistently. My first 1,000 (on Saturday) I held back a little bit and lost a bit of time and that was really the difference,” said Gregg. “My other three races I was real happy with. It’s my best performance at a world sprints yet. I podiumed in both 500s and that’s a confidence builder, and the 1,000 too, I got fourth place.”

Dutch skater Michel Mulder was the 2013 sprint champion with 136.790 points, followed by Pekka Koskela of Finland (137.015) and Hein Otterspeer of the Netherlands (137.045). Otterspeer won the 1,000 metres, while Mulder was second and Haralds Silvos of Latvia was third.

Both under the direction of national team coaches Mike Crowe and Bart Schouten, Gregg and Gilmore Junio finished second and third respectively in today’s 500 metres. Gregg took second place for a consecutive day in a time of 34.50 seconds. With a time of 34.53 seconds, Calgary’s Junio recorded his fourth personal best time this season to slip in behind Gregg in third place. Japan’s Joji Kato took top spot in a time of 34.29 seconds.

Laurent Dubreuil, Lévis, Que., took 19th place today in his 500-metre race in a time of 34.83 seconds. Winnipeg’s Tyler Derraugh finished in 22nd place after posting another personal best 35.01 seconds – five one hundredths of a second faster than his first race yesterday.

In the women’s 1,000 metres, Christine Nesbitt took second place in a time of 1:13.28. Her time wasn’t good enough to keep her on the podium as she took fifth place overall with 148.945 points. American Heather Richardson, who won today’s 1,000 metres, was the world sprint champion with 148.015 points. China’s Jing Yu took second place with 148.280 points and Sang-Hwa Lee of Korea was third (148.560).

“In the big picture, I think it's really good because I'm really focusing on the world single distances in Sochi (Russia in March) and the (2014) Olympics,” said Nesbitt, who is coached by Xiuli Wang and Mark Wild. “It's definitely a step in the right direction. I don't think I'm skating 100 per cent, but it's definitely improving. So I think I have to be happy with it even though I'm a bit frustrated.”

In the women’s 500 metres, Nesbitt skated a season best and faster race today by 0.19 seconds to finish 12th again with a time of 37.83 seconds. Calgary’s Anastasia Bucsis skated a personal best 37.91 seconds to take 15th place. She bettered yesterday’s race (38.07) by 16 one hundredths of a second, but moved down one spot in the standings.

In the 1,000 metres, Bucsis came in at 1:16.12 for 17th place. Bucsis was also 17th overall after four races – better than her previous 23rd place in 2011.

Also in the men’s 1,000, Derraugh skated an identical time as the first race of 1:08.15 for 10th place. Dubreuil came in at 1:08.64 for 16th place. He was only one one hundredth of a second off the personal best time he set Saturday. Junio had a time of 1:09.75 for 20th place.

In the final standings, Dubreuil was 13th (138.175), Junio 14th (138.195) and Derraugh took 15th place (138.195).