Truchon & Beaulieu top skaters at national team selections

Caroline Truchon and Rémi Beaulieu top skaters at national short track team selections
Truchon and Beaulieu win the 1000 m, and Genève Bélanger and Vincent Cournoyer are first in 3000 m

- National team members Caroline Truchon and Rémi Beaulieu were the top skaters earning 2,540 and 2,529 points, respectively at the National short track team selections #2 in Montreal. After racing the 1,500 metres Friday and 500 metres Saturday, the selections wrapped-up Sunday with 1,000 metres and super 3,000 metres.

In the women’s overall ranking, Quebec City’s Genève Bélanger followed Truchon in second place with 2,338 points, and Valérie Lambert, of Sherbrooke, Que., was third with 1,997 points. For the men, François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., took second place with 2,266 points and Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean was third with 1,943 points.

In the women’s 1,000 metres final, a nine-lap race, Truchon led the group for all but one lap winning in a time of one minute and 33.439 seconds. Keri Morrison, of Burlington, Ont., claimed the silver in a time of 1:34.693 and Lambert earned the bronze medal in 1:35.348. Bélanger fell in the second last lap and was also penalized.

The men’s 1,000-metre final featured three national team members in the five-man group. National team members Beaulieu and Hamelin earned gold and silver medals, respectively. Toronto’s William Preudhomme won the bronze medal. Beaulieu crossed the finish line in one minute and 24.745 seconds, Hamelin in 1:24.914 and Preudhomme in 1:26.352. Pier-Olivier Gagnon of Montreal took fourth place (1:32.013), and national team member François-Louis Tremblay, of Alma, Que., was penalized for impeding, taking fifth spot.

In the last individual races of the day, the men’s and women’s 3,000 metres featured the top 16 skaters in two draws.

Bélanger redeemed herself from a penalty in the 1,000 metres winning the 3,000 metres in a time of 5:17.121. She lapped the other seven women shortly after the sprint for bonus points, which takes place at the ninth of 27 laps, and hung on for the win. Lambert earned the 74 points for the sprint. Morrison won her second silver medal on the day, finishing in 5:23.995. Montreal’s André Do-Duc took the bronze medal in 5:24.133.

In the men’s 3,000 final, both Vincent Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., and Yoan Gauthier, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., lapped the other six skaters after the sprint to take first and second place, respectively. Cournoyer, who also earned the sprint points, had a time of 4:51.865 and Gauthier had 4:53.601. Beaulieu took the bronze medal in a time of 4:58.975.

Edmonton’s Jessica Gregg, who was leading the selections in points after two days, withdrew from Sunday’s races because of injury. She finished the selections in fifth place overall with 1,794 points. Gregg will submit an injury bye request to the short track high performance committee for consideration in positioning for the national teams and Olympic selections.

This competition, along with the Canadian Open Championships in January, was used to compile the 2012-13 Canadian rankings. The rankings will assist in determining the 2013-14 national and development teams and skaters for the Olympic selections in August.

For the purposes of determining a final overall Canadian ranking, the athletes selected to compete at 2013 World Championships in Hungary, from March 8-10, will be ranked one to five in order of their selection: Women - 1st Marianne St. Gelais; 2nd Marie-Ève Drolet; 3rd Jessica Hewitt; 4th Valérie Maltais; and, 5th Gabrielle Waddell; Men - 1st Charles Hamelin; 2nd Michael Gilday; 3rd Charle Cournoyer; 4th Olivier Jean; and, 5th Guillaume Bastille.