Sarah Gregg & Richard MacLennan crowned Canadian Junior Champions

It is without surprise that Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) claimed as hers the prized Canada Junior Title in long track speed skating at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Skating some of her best races of the season, Gregg secured the top spot in the cumulative standings of this week-end Canadian Junior Championships. Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) and Alberta's Kaylin Irvine were second and third respectively in the cumulative standings. On the men's side, the battle was fierce, and Richard MacLennan emerged victorious. Second and third places went to Scott Bickerton and Jordan Ellis.

“I feel great. It was one of my goals this year to win here. I skated really well this weekend and I am just happy with my results. I skated the best I could. Now, I am very excited about the future. This was definitely one of the best competitions of the year for me,” mentioned Sarah Gregg at the end of the day. “As a junior, you can easily be nervous but I think it a great atmosphere here. I think everyone here is having a great time and enjoying themselves and that's the best part of the weekend.”

Continuing on her victorious streak, Gregg stepped on top of the podium in the ladies' 1000m, thanks to a time of 1:22.04. Fellow Albertans Kate Hanly (1:22.54) and Kaylin Irvine (1:22.77) took second and third place respectively

In the 3000m, Ivanie Blondin won the race in 4:26.38. Also from Ontario, Madeleine Martin (4:28.15) came in second place, and Gregg, in 4:29.16, raced to third place.

On the men's side, Guillaume Blais-Dufour (Québec, QC) dominated the 1500m. Blais-Dufour crossed the finish line in 1:52.15. Ontario's Richard MacLennan (1:52.49) raced to second place and Scott Brickerton of British-Colombia finished third with a time of 1:54.35.

The men's 5000m was needed to determine who was going to win the Junior Title in the cumulative standings. It was Scott Bickerton who was the fastest, skating the distance in 6:55.69. Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, QC), who surprised by winning a silver and a bronze medal at the World Junior Short Track Championships earlier this month, came in second thanks to a time of 7:01.80. Third place went to Jordan Ellis (7:02.04).

“It feels great to win. I gave it all. The 5000m is not my best race but I knew that I to give all if I wanted to win. This was it,” said Richard MacLennan. “Overall, it was such a good feeling. I was all day in a skating mood and focus and it paid off”.

Senior athletes are also in Richmond to skate in the Canada Cup #2. In the men's 1500m, Jeff Kitura (Langley, BC) raced to first place with a time of 1:50.48. Following Kitura was Alexandre Garant (Québec, QC) in second place (1:51.35). Mykola Makowsky (Regina, SK) took third place in 1:52.06.

Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON) skated to victory in the men's 5000m thanks to a time of 6:38.46. Belchos won the race with a lead of almost 10 seconds to this closest rival. Albertan Keith Sulzer (6:46.18) came in second while Dustin Johnston (6:49.08) of Saskatchewan finished third.

On the ladies' side, Justine L'Heureux (St-Tite, QC) took gold in the 1000m race with a time of 1:20.42. Alberta's Kelsey Duffield (1:20.45) grabbed silver while Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) received bronze thanks to a time of 1:22.82.

Garrido then went on to win gold in the 3000m who completed the race in 4:19.27. Shannon Sibold (Calgary, AB) came in second with a time of 4:25.10, followed by Justine L'Heureux (4:25.77) in third.

The final races for both junior and senior skaters will take place tomorrow, and Canada’s team for the World Junior Championships will be made official later this week.