Kassandra Bradette & François-Louis Tremblay Dominate 500m at Short Track National Team Selections

The top Canadian short track speed skaters are looking forward to their upcoming holidays, but there are still a few days of racing left before they can put away their long blades. The last national competition of the season is underway at the Maurice-Richard Arena, and the stakes are high, as athletes are trying to keep or gain a spot on the national and development teams. Today, Kasandra Bradette (St-Félicien, QC) and François-Louis Tremblay (Boucherville, QC) dominated the 500m races, adding precious points towards their final 2010-11 rankings.

With only two races left this season, the 1000m and 3000m to be skated tomorrow in Montreal, athletes are battling hard on the ice. The 500m event is always exciting, athletes flying on the rink from start to finish. Today was no exception, and the spectators witnessed some exceptional races.

Twenty-one year old Kasandra Bradette was impressive in the final, where she was racing alongside National Team member Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC) and Development Team members Gabrielle Waddell (Red Deer, AB) and Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC). Mendes-Campeau started in front, followed by Bradette, Lambert and Waddell. With two and a half laps to go, Waddell made her way to third place. One lap later, Bradette passed in first on the inside. A slight contact with Mendes-Campeau made her slide towards the outside, allowing Waddell to make her way to second place. The National Team skater tried to pass back at the finish, but it was too late, and she had to settle for third place in 45.293. Bradette won the race in 45.168, Waddell was second (45.219) and Lambert fourth (47.208).

In men competition, no one was surprised to see five time Olympic medalist François-Louis Tremblay win the final. Lining up with Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, AB), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC) and Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC), Tremblay knew he had to give his all in order to win. McFarlane, known for having one of the fastest starts in the world, came out of the first corner ahead, but Tremblay and Boisvert-Lacroix were just behind, leaving longer distance specialist Rémi Beaulieu behind. François-Louis Tremblay managed an inside pass halfway through the race and was able to cruise to the finish line, crossing first in 41.484. McFarlane wasn’t far behind, finishing in 41.646. Boisvert-Lacroix finished third in 41.730, and Beaulieu is fourth (43.083).

Canadian Junior A, B and Neo-Senior Championships

After winning silver in yesterday’s 1500m Junior A & neo-senior Canadian Championships competition, Valérie Alby of Québec won the gold medal, today, in the 500m. She was joined on the podium by Samia Gould of New Brunswick for silver and Ontario’s Keri Morrison for bronze. On the men side, today’s 500m final was raced with four skaters from Québec. In the end, Jean-Christophe Marando skated to the first place finish, followed by Xavier Lacelle-Webster and Ludovic Labbé-Doucet.

In Junior B division, British Columbia's Jesse Keca won her second gold medal this week, this time in the 500m. Laurence Morin (Québec) won silver and Gabrielle Desharnais-Préfontaine, also of Québec, the bronze. Sasha Fathoulin of Alberta also won a second gold medal today in the 500m. He was followed by Vincent Egesborg, of Québec, and Vincent Dehaître of Ontario.

Tomorrow, athletes will compete in the 1000m, and National Team Selection skaters will also race the 3000m. Junior races will start at 8:30am and senior races at 12:30pm at the Maurice-Richard Arena. Races can also be watched live in webstreaming at http://codempv.org/.