Close to 80 entries are confirmed for the annual Vernon Speed Skating Club open meet Saturday at Wesbild Centre.
Club president Pete Kapak says there are a dozen skaters ranked in the top-70 provincially, including Vernon’s Connie Kapak, who is No. 1 in the 11-year-old girls class.
Vernon will be represented by 10 skaters with the competition going from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. There is no admission. This is the sixth year the meet will be held at Wesbild.
“Vernon is known for its good ice and lots of records have been set at Wesbild,” said Kapak. “This will be a chance for skaters to qualify (meet a standard time) for the other top events left this season.”
The Vernon club has a record 35 skaters, including 17 minor hockey players using the speed skate workouts to improve their skills.
“About a third of the hockey players have converted to speed skates which is good because most of the technical skills are designed for speed skates,” said Kapak.
Connie Kapak, who turned 12 on Wednesday, qualified for last weekend’s nationals in Winnipeg but did not attend. She had missed several days of school for the provincials in Fort St. John.
“Her time would have placed her fifth in Canada, comparing the (long track) Winnipeg results,” said Pete.
The short track provincials go March 5-7 in Port Coquitlam, followed by the Western Canadian Championships, March 26-27, in Kelowna.