The BC Short Track Provincial Championships scheduled this weekend has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association had four skaters slated to represent the club and the lakecity: Kayden Ford-Jalbert, Ty Lauren, Leah Lauren and Henry Beaton.
Four skaters from the Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association will blast off to the BC Short Track Provincial Championships this weekend in Abbotsford.
Henry Beaton, Kayden Ford-Jalbert, Ty Lauren and Leah Lauren have qualified from the club, and will put their speed to the test versus the best in the province March 14-15 at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre.
Tania Lauren, head coach of the Bullets, said to have four skaters from Williams Lake qualify to compete at provincials is a massive accomplishment.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Tania said. “Henry just got back from the BC Winter Games and, with all these higher-level races (this season) the kids are learning huge amounts. Speed skating really comes down to knowing how to race and it becomes a lot more mental than physical once you reach a certain point, so this year there has been a lot of improvement in that regard.”
Each of the skaters will race in multiple events at provincials.
Ty, Leah and Henry will compete in the 200-metre, 400-metre, 1,500-metre heats and finals, as well as a points race. Ty and Leah will also be skating a 3,000-metre points race, while Henry and Kayden will skate the 2,000-metre points race.
Kayden has qualified to race in the 1,200-metre, as well as the 200-metre and 400-metre events.
Ty, Leah and Henry, racing in different divisions and separate teams, will race a 3,000-metre relay, while Kayden will compete in a 2,000-metre relay.
Henry, meanwhile, said his experience at the BC Winter Games in Fort St. John Feb. 20-23 was a phenomenal one, and noted the competition definitely better prepared him for provincials.
In his very first race on day one of the competition, Henry pick up a win in his 400-metre race. He followed that race up with a spectacular fall, placing him fifth, however, didn’t let that deter him from placing second in his next race.
He said it was his first time skating long track competitively, and managed to start off day two by winning his first race in an exhibition, all while skating on an injured foot due to his fall.
“It was a very, very fun experience,” Henry said. “I made lots of new friends, and I had fun skating and it was a big step up in class, but I think I did pretty well, and it was a very good learning experience. I skated my hardest and I was happy for it being my first big race.”
Henry’s results in his heat races were as follows: 400 metre (first), 400 metre (fifth), 400 metre (second), 1,500 metre (fifth), 1,500 metre (second), 500 metre exhibition (first), 500 metre (second) and mass start, seven laps on 500-metre track, 17th place. The mass start, he said, proved to be bit more challenging.
Ty, who competed at the Games in speed skating in 2017, and Leah, who qualified for the Canadian Western Speed Skating Championships in 2019, also attended the games as young officials and mentors. Leah and Ty worked alongside athletes helping them with whatever they needed, while Leah lap counted.
“It was a really, really good time,” Leah said, noting now her focus has shifted towards this weekend’s short track provincials.