Vernon Vortex members took on the Polar Vortex on the Prairies.
Winnipeg was the scene for the outdoor Canadian Age Class Long Track Speed Skating championships, where Vortex teammates Nate Benn and Daniel Hall competed with Team B.C. against teams made up of the best that other provinces had to offer in their respective age groups.
A large challenge for Okanagan athletes was the weather. Skating outside in -25 C can be a little intimidating but the Vernon kids pushed through and put in a great effort.
Hall was in a very fast group, once again led by Sammy Green from the Coast. Hall was a workhorse in the team pursuit event and helped the team of Green, Noah Rubuliak and Mathew Mitchell secure the bronze medal.
In the seven-lap event, Hall finished in fifth place just 3-10ths of a second out of second spot as a pack crossed the line altogether.
Unfortunately for Hall, the 1,500m event, one of his strongest, was cancelled due to scheduling problems initiated by the cold weather. The omission of his strongest event left him in 10th place overall.
Benn started the meet off strong by taking a bronze medal in the 300m sprint event and finishing ninth in the seven-lap event, just 11-100ths of a second out of sixth place.
On Day 2 of the event, Benn was a strong part of the bronze medal performance in the B.C. team pursuit event, and he followed that up with a great 500m event finishing in third place.
At the conclusion of the abbreviated competition, Benn was in fourth place overall, missing an opportunity to improve his standing in the 1,500m event.
The Vortex now prepares for the conclusion of the season with short track, the provincial championships coming up soon as well as the final event of the year in the Okanagan.
The Interior FUNale is in Vernon at Kal Tire Place on Saturday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m.
While the rest of the team is preparing for the short track events, clubmate Laura Hall will be representing her Vortex teammates at the Canada Games starting this weekend in Red Deer.