The Williams Lake Skating Club team of Lauren Swan (back left)

The Williams Lake Skating Club team of Lauren Swan (back left)

Speed skaters reach podium

The Williams Lake Speed Skating Club glided its way to a third-place finish early February at the Kamloops Long Blades Coyote Cup.

The Williams Lake Speed Skating Club glided its way to a third-place finish early February at the Kamloops Long Blades Coyote Cup.

Tania Lauren, head coach of the WLSSC, said what makes the feat even more impressive is the competition was the club’s first time attending a competitive event since it started up just three years ago.

“There were 17 different clubs at the meet and it was fantastic for the first time around and the kids were super happy,” Tania said. “I think almost every single one of our kids did personal best times.”

Thirteen of the club’s young skaters aged six to 13 competed on a 100-metre track on an Olympic-sized oval in events featuring distances from 100 metres all the way up to 1,500 metres.

Brooke Bennison, 6, raced to a gold medal in her age category, Leah Lauren, 8, and Ty Lauren, 9, also duplicated the performance.

Picking up silver medals at the meet were Nayeli Doerner, 7, and Cadence Halfnights, 8, while Ella Carson, 7, Colby Bennison, 8, Emily Swan, 9, Drew Woodford, 11, and Laren Swan, 13, won bronze medals.

Sophie Reissner and Bayley Stratton, both 8, were fourth in their respective categories picking up iron medals, and Amy Swan, 11, skated to a fifth-place finish.

The team’s cumulative score at the end of the competition determined its third-place finish, Tania said, adding it’s amazing to see the improvement in the skaters since the club began.

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “My youngest skater, she started when she was four. She couldn’t even stand on skates and she won a gold, and can race 1,200 metres. It’s phenomenal.”

The WLSSC’s season runs from September to March and practices twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The team has one more meet this year in Fort St. James at the Northern Regional Finals March 8-9.