Long track. Short track. Long track. Splash! Short track. Say what? Well that is just what was involved in the first three months of 2014 for skaters with the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club.
January was jam-packed with long track events. The month began in Calgary with Canada Cup #2 where both Jenna Merth and Ryan Dodyk set personal records. Jenna competed in the North American Championships later in the month.
The Alberta Indoor Long Track Championships took place in Calgary over the course of this frosty month, of which many of our skaters took part. For Calista Ehle, Rayel Green, Shaye Holzinger, and Kyra Williamson, it was the first time setting a blade on the fastest ice in the world. Sarah St. Marie posted personal bests in all four distances, and Ryan Dodyk set the second fastest 100m opener (the first 100m of the 500m race) at 10.88s.
February turned to short track as skaters competed in the Alberta Winter Games in Canmore. Brrr! was one way to describe the meet as skaters competed on the outdoor pond during a nasty winter cold snap. The weather was not a deterrent for fun and laughter though, especially when many huddled together on the podium to collect their bling. Congratulations to Jade Langenfurth, Kyra Weidmark, Emma Stephens, Paige Jory, Shaye Holzinger, Kyra Williamson, Brooke Jory, and Lisa St. Marie for your excellence in teamwork during the relay. It was also an extra treat to have his Hon. Richard Starke, present the medals to these fine young skaters.
After everyone had a chance to thaw out from the February deep freeze, 12 skaters from Lloydminster headed down to Calgary for RU Fast. This was a huge competition comprised of 260 skaters from across the western provinces. Gabe Wennekamp got his first taste of competing in an out of town meet and walked away with silver for his division.
During RU Fast, many skaters had an opportunity to get their picture taken with Olympian Denny Morrison. Denny had just recently returned from Sochi and came out for a Sunday skate. Everyone greatly appreciated the time Denny took to stop and talk with our young aspiring skaters.
Ryan and Jenna returned to the long track in Calgary in mid-March to compete in Canada Cup #4. Both of them took almost 4 seconds off their 1000m times from January and both met a qualifying standard time for the Alberta Provincial Team. Jenna will be on the AB Provincial Development team for the upcoming season. AB Short and Long Track Team List
Our club wrapped up the season with our final mini-meet. During that time, skaters had the opportunity to better some personal bests and parents to see how much their skaters progressed over the season. The club also bid farewell to the most senior member of the club, Ryan Dodyk, who will be off to the University of Alberta in September, as he skated in his final race-a 333m mass-start pursuit. The meet ended with a slip and slide, where kids skated as fast as they could and dove into a pool of water on the ice. Great fun!