The Vernon Vortex Speed Skating Club turned in some stellar finishes at the Provincial Long Track Championships last weekend in Fort St. John.
The Vortex were at a distinct disadvantage, not having access to a 400-metre track to train on, but they still represented the city well.
Only four Vernon skaters made the trip but the team did well enough in each age class to place fifth in a field of 13 clubs, the club’s best showing in 25 years.
Laura Hall was up against some strong competition from the northern clubs but recorded three personal best times and finished fourth overall, locking up her position with a determined effort in the 3,000-m race.
Nate Benn skated a great set of races to finish third overall in his division. He narrowly missed a silver medal due to a slip in his strongest race, the 100-m sprint.
Following Laura’s lead, he delivered a great effort in the 2,000-m race and surprised the competition by refusing to slow down as the race went on.
Daniel Hall made some great improvements to his form and won four out of five of the distances, taking a crazy 19 seconds off his personal best time in the 1,200-m.
Hall will be moving up to the next age group next year and won’t be sneaking up on anyone at the competition as he will be going into the races as the man to beat.
The team leader, 80-something Peter Blokker, a former coach, was able to win all four of his distances in his age class to defend his title as the B.C. champion. Blokker continues to amaze the province with his ability to just keep going when most would start to slow down.
Laura Hall qualified to represent B.C. at the Canadian championships in Quebec City in early February and Benn is well within reach of qualifying for the nationals next year.
The Vortex carry sponsorship from Interior Savings Credit Union and Mackenzie Financial. For information on how to join this vibrant group of athletes, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The club can also be found on Facebook.