With the lifting of COVID restrictions comes competitions for the Vernon Vortex Speedskating club.
And it happened in time for one of the season’s most important races for the kids: the B.C. short track championships.
The Vortex qualified four skaters: Charlie McGinty, Bria Budalich, Ila Isaac and Jack Isaac.
McGinty, unfortunately, had an injury and was not able to attend. Some good news is that he has fast enough times that he may be picked up for the wild card position and still be able to attend the National Championships.
Jack Isaac, the club’s oldest skater for this meet, was skating in the Open division. Skating against older and more experienced skaters had Jack at a disadvantage. His first set of races were 1,500 meters, posting a best time of 2:47.21 minutes, dropping almost 13 seconds off his personal best. Jack also dropped more than three seconds off his 1,000-m time and a second off his 500-m time.
“Although Jack did not make the podium he had a great meet of personal best times,” club spokesperson Karen Benn said.
Next was Ila Isaac, competing for the first time at a provincial meet. She found herself skating in a very fast group. Her first race was the 1,500-m where she skated to a season’s best time, dropping a huge eight seconds. Ila had to make an amazing pass to win her final and gain some much needed points.
“She has been working hard this past season and it paid off,” said Benn.
In her 400-m race she dropped more time off despite getting a best time in practice just three days before. Lastly came the 2,000-m points race, a difficult race for every skater. If a skater is lapped by the lead skater they are pulled out of the race.
“Unfortunately Ila was one of those skaters. But so was half the group.”
All in all Ila had a great meet with 100 per cent personal best times. Unfortunately she missed making Team B.C. by one spot.
Last but definitely not least came the Vortex’s youngest skater, 11-year-old Budalich. The start had her skating her 1,500-m distance. Skating to a season’s best time she made her way into the A final. Trying to make a hard inside pass on the second-to-last corner she slipped and fell, getting a penalty and taking her out of the race.
Next came her 400-m races. Again making it to the A final, Budalich found another gear and dropped more than a second to win her division for that race. Also winning her division in the 200-m sprint things were looking good for Budalich.
Day 2 brought the last big race, the 2,000-m points race. About seven laps in a skater fell in front of Budalich and forced her to stop and trip. This caused the lead skater to catch up and pass Budalich forcing her out of the race.
At the end of the day the awards came and even through the falls Budalich came away with a silver medal and a well deserved spot on Team B.C. Budalich advances to the national championships in two weeks in Selkirk, Man.
The Vernon Vortex would like to thank its sponsors as well as all the parents and families for the support that is given to all of its skaters.
“Here’s to an awesome next season,” said Benn.
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