Five of the six eligible Vernon Vortex Speed Skating Club traveled to Prince George for the B.C. Short Track Provincial Championships. The quintent included veterans Nate Benn, Daniel Hall and Charlie McGinty, along with first timers Sam McDicken and Lauren Miller.
As expected, the competition was fast and fierce, competing in the distances of 200-, 400-, 1,200-, and 1,500-meter races along with a 2,000- and 3,000-meter points race.
The first up was Miller, who just qualified for the races the week prior. Her 200 heat was a best time for her and put her in the middle of the pack. She stayed there through her 400 and 1,200s as well, posting best times at each of those distances. Unfortunately, inexperience in her 2,000 points race bumped her down a few places.
The 0ther first timer, McDicken, was in the next division. He was in one of the largest groups. McDicken had to race his heart out, and had some great races, clocking a six-second PB in his 1,200 meter race. Finishing in the middle of the pack he showed everyone that next year he will be one to watch.
McGinty had a fast start with a personal in his first race the 200m. Skating with his usual character, Charlie was up against some fast skaters. He held his own in the 400m and 1,200m distances but an unfortunate miscommunication had Charlie stopping before he was finished his 2,000m distance and being penalized. Overall McGinty finished fifth in his age group, just missing qualifying for Can West.
Hall had some good opener times, his best coming in the 400m. Chasing speedy skater Sam Greene from the Coast helped with some great times. An unfortunate penalty in his 1,200m final brought down Hall’s score but he brought it back up in his 2,000m points race. Daniel stood on the podium for a silver medal.
The Vortex’s last veteran skater, Benn, was there to compete. An unfortunate fall in his first race put him at the back of the pack. Benn fought his way back, even posting a best and fastest time of the day in his 400. A valiant effort in his 3,000 meter points race put him on the podium and earning fourth overall.
Both coaches Mike Hall and Tony Benn are very proud of how the kids did. Hard work and dedication from all the skaters is starting to show.
Both Hall and Benn qualified and are going to Grande Prairie in two weeks to compete for B.C. in their respective age groups in the Canadian Western Championships.