It was a big weekend for Quinte Blades Speed Skating club as 12 skaters travelled to Brockville Saturday to compete against 85 others in the third Eastern Regional meet of the season.
Novice skaters, 8 year old Eve McMaster and 6 year old Kevin Hoffman both showed a great deal of improvement over their December finishes. In the end, despite her inexperience, Eve dominated her group finishing with a gold medal, while Kevin was edged out of the medals in the 500m final.
Picton’s Max Tootle skated 5 solid races over the day. His strategy of staying away from trouble paid off as he was able to secure two first place finishes on his way to a gold medal.
12 year old Carson Karja, another Prince Edward County resident, skated brilliantly in every race. A big improvement in his starts gave him an insurmountable lead early in each of his first 4 races. In the 1500 m final, Carson confused his competition by deciding to stay in the pack for 10 laps before sprinting to the win and the gold medal.
Veteran skater Paul Pickard was leading his group going in to his final race of the day, however, his failure to complete a pass earlier in the day meant that all the medals in the group were up for grabs. In the 1500m event, a Gloucester skater moved into the lead and set a difficult pace. Pickard made two attempts to re-gain the lead without success. With just 1 ½ laps to go, the Gloucester skater took a wide track out of the corner and Pickard was able to squeeze into the lead and hold on for a first place finish.
Brian Hoffman and Matthew Tootle skated some personal best times over the day. Both found themselves dealing with heavy traffic which interfered with their overall success. Adam James and Kai Freeland went head-to-head in the 1500m final which saw several lead changes. Despite Adam’s win, Kai emerged as the fan favourite. Personal best times were also recorded by Jacob Fulford, Trent Sproule and Ethan Taylor.
The next competition for the Blades will be the Provincial B and C championships which will be held in London at the end of March Break.