Record set­ters

Short track speed skaters tak­ing mo­men­tum into Fe­bru­ary’s Canada Games

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - Jared Mur­phy Jared Mur­phy is a sport co-or­di­na­tor with Sport P.E.I. and will be as­sis­tant chef de mis­sion for Team P.E.I. dur­ing Week 2 of the 2019 Canada Games.

P.E.I.’s short track speed skaters have been putting up per­sonal bests and smash­ing provin­cial records the last few years.

The mo­men­tum be­gan at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince Ge­orge, B.C., when the short track team saw some of the best fin­ishes over­all for P.E.I. in the Games’ his­tory. Soon after, the likes of An­drew Binns, Jenna Larter and Wil­liam Lyons gath­ered medal fin­ishes at the Canada East cham­pi­onships, where most of the coun­try’s top skaters were com­pet­ing.

Al­though the fi­nal se­lec­tions for Team P.E.I.’s short track speed skaters are not un­til next week, re­turn­ing hope­ful, Peter McQuaid has his sights set on bet­ter­ing his per­for­mance from the last Win­ter Games. Plac­ing in the top 30 over­all was ad­mirable, but as with most ath­letes, noth­ing would beat a place on the podium. Peter’s brother, Thomas, re­cently tasted gold at the Harold Joyce Short Track Speed Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships and will also be vy­ing for a spot at this years’ Games. It would be a fam­ily af­fair in Red Deer, Alta., if Peter and Thomas are se­lected to rep­re­sent the prov­ince.

Per­sonal bests and provin­cial records aside, all eyes will be on the male re­lay team this Fe­bru­ary. The team, cur­rently ranked fifth in the coun­try, will be look­ing to re­turn home with some hard­ware. The group’s youngest hope­ful is 14-year-old Lyons, who has been study­ing un­der the likes of McQuaid and oth­ers for sev­eral years now. His long hours on the ice have proven to be worth the ef­forts as he medalled at the Canada East cham­pi­onships in his age group two years ago. Lyons will un­doubt­edly be look­ing to his el­ders for lead­er­ship this time round, but it’s worth not­ing he will be el­i­gi­ble for the 2023 Win­ter Games be­ing held on home soil.

Head coach Sarah Tay­lor, a former Canada Games short track speed skater her­self, knows what a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence the Games can be. She rep­re­sented Prince Ed­ward Is­land in the 2003 Games hosted in Camp­bell­ton, N.B.

“The last four to five years we have re­ally put Team P.E.I. on the map,” said Tay­lor.

She talked about how work­ing with var­i­ous Is­land pro­fes­sion­als has brought her team to the next level. Tara Costello has been work­ing on the group’s sport psy­chol­ogy, Nancy Fong has been mon­i­tor­ing their nutri­tion and former Canada Games medal­list

Matt Case­ley cre­ated a strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gram that has proven its weight in gold. Tay­lor will look to con­tinue on the path she has cre­ated for her ath­letes and will do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make sure they are per­form­ing at their best come Fe­bru­ary.

Short track speed skat­ing has its lim­i­ta­tions in our prov­ince in terms of proper-sized ice sur­faces, but this has not de­terred our ath­letes from per­form­ing on the na­tional stage. This mes­sage was re­it­er­ated from Is­lan­der and former Olympian Jared Con­naughton, who spoke with the

team this sum­mer. His mes­sage in­spired the group, and they will no doubt be think­ing of the pos­si­bil­i­ties for their suc­cess when it comes time to hit the ice in Red Deer.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Team P.E.I. and the 2019 Win­ter Canada Games, stay tuned for more Count­down to the Games ar­ti­cles and be sure to fol­low Team P.E.I. on Face­book and Twit­ter. #IsleBeReady


Ad­di­son Bruce, left, of Strat­ford took home a bronze medal from the re­cent Harold Joyce Short Track Speed Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Fred­er­ic­ton, N.B.

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