The Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association sped to Kamloops late January for the eighth annual Coyote Cup.
Hosted by the Kamloops Long Blades and held at the McArthur Island Sport Centre, the competition was open to all skaters. Eleven members of the Bullets attended and achieved numerous personal best times, along with five gold medals (Leah Lauren, Henry Beaton-Fleming, Brayden Folland, Kayden Ford-Jalbert and Charlie Gash), one silver medal (Isaac Plant), four bronze medals (Ty Lauren, Sarah Plant, Brooke Bennison, Elise Carson), a fourth-place finish (Preston Sigsworth) and a fourth-place overall team result.
Ty Lauren, 15, has been skating with the Bullets since the team’s inception eight years ago. Lauren competed in the top division (division one) at the Coyote Cup where he skated to a bronze medal overall.
“I’m definitely feeling comfortable out there on the ice,” Lauren said. “I got bronze, but two tied for gold so there was no silver awarded.”
Lauren raced in the 1,500-metre and 400-metre races, and in the 500-metre and 1,000-metre events on the 111-metre track.
“The 400-metre’s my favourite,” he said. “I definitely like the sprint events more, and I’m better at them. That 400-metre helped me get up onto the podium.”
Having the chance to compete in a provincial competition and put his skills to the test is definitely something he’s enjoying, he added.
“It’s just a little different from practice,” he said. “You get to see friends you’ve made and known for half your life because you’ve been skating together.”
Lauren also said he achieved two personal bests at the meet, and is now preparing for the BC Short Track provincials coming up in Prince George at the beginning of March.
Fellow Bullets skater Isaac Plant, 14, meanwhile, also had a strong meet.
Plant, who is in his fourth year of competitive speed skating, competed in the 500-metre, the 400-metre, the 200-metre and the 1,500-metre events at the Coyote Cup, and finished with a silver medal overall.
“There’s something about the speed of it, and there’s something calm about gliding on the ice,” Plant said of why he enjoys speed skating.
“I was really happy with how I did.”
Looking back on how much the skaters in the WLBSSA have improved since he joined, Plant said it’s remarkable.
“You don’t really see it when it’s happening but to realize how much better everyone has gotten is crazy,” he said.
Currently, five of the Bullets have qualified for the upcoming provincial championships in Prince George: Ty Lauren, Leah Lauren, Sarah Plant, Isaac Plant and Henry Beaton-Fleming.