Island speed skaters grab wins on long, short tracks

Journal Pioneer staff
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CHARLOTTETOWN – P.E.I. speed skaters posted top finishes at two separate regional events held recently.

Jared Vriends of Pleasant Grove picked up a pair of wins at the Atlantic long-track championships at the Emera Oval in Halifax, N.S., recently.

Jared Vriends had a pair of wins and several top-three finishes at the Atlantic long track championships in Halifax, N.S., while two Island skaters made their way onto the podium at a short-track meet in Hampton, N.B.

Vriends, the lone Island skater among 57 competitors in Halifax, won the first 500-metre race in a time of 44.96 seconds, edging Saint John’s Paul Tremblay by 8/10ths of a second. The pair traded spots in the second 500-metre race, with Vriends finishing second but improving his time to 44.13 seconds. 

In the 1,500-metre distance, Vriends had the second-fastest time across the line in two minutes 25.31 seconds (2:25.31), but was awarded first place after Tremblay finished in the wrong lane.

Vriends finished third in each of his other Olympic-style races on the Emera Oval, establishing new outdoor oval records for P.E.I. junior men in each of his four distances. He also secured the necessary qualifying times to compete in Canada Cup No. 4 long-track event in Calgary, Alta., from March 14 to 16.

In Hampton, N.B., Liam and Zachary Chatfield earned a pair of medals for P.E.I. at their first off-Island meet.

Liam took gold in Division 6 after winning two of his three distances during the one-day event, and brother Zachary nabbed silver in Division 7 after finishing first, second and fourth in his events. Both skaters set new personal bests in each of their distances.  

Andrew Binns was the fastest member of the five-member Island contingent at the Hampton short-track event, where he competed in Division 1 for the first time. Binns finished 14th in the top group. 

Kristen Binns and Mathew Kozma finished in fourth place among Division 2 females and Division 3 males, respectively, after several strong races by each skater.  

Nearly 100 skaters from seven Maritime clubs competed in Hampton, where Anthony Gagnon of the Restigouche Comets was the top male skater and Rikki Doak of Fredericton finished as the top female competitor.

P.E.I. skaters are now looking toward this weekend’s short track meet in Dieppe, N.B., where over 30 Islanders will compete at an event being hosted by the Codiac Cyclones. The Island contingent won the overall medal count in Dieppe last season, and is looking for a strong repeat performance.

Full meet results and additional information on Speed Skate P.E.I. can be found on the club’s website at www.speedskatepei.com.

Geographic location: Iceland, Hampton, Halifax Saint John Calgary, Alta Dieppe Fredericton

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