Kelowna speed skaters strapped on the long track Klap blades, extended their stride on the 400m oval and raced to medals at the B.C. Long Track Championships Jan. 20 and 21 in Fort St. John.
Leading the pack was Jacob Rubuliak, 15, who won the overall title in the Junior Open Division with wins in the 1,500m and 5,000m and second place finishes in the 500m and 1,000m events. Jacob improved his 5,000m time by a whopping 40 seconds. Jacob will now advance to the Canadian Junior Long Track Championship (U19) Feb. 1 to 3 in Fort St. John.
Erik Haaheim captured second place overall provincial title in the 13-year-old category with wins in the 1,500 and 3,000m, 2nd in the 500 and 3rd in the 300m.
Meanwhile, Noah Rubuliak placed second overall in the 12-year-old category with 2nd place finishes in the 300m and 500m and 3rd place in the 1,500m and 3,000m.
Both boys skated personal bests and demonstrated a keen sense of tactics. While both qualified for the Canadian Age Class Championships in Quebec they have elected to give it a pass and prepare for the upcoming 2018 BCWG.
“It is remarkable how well our Kelowna skaters do on the long track despite not having any facility to train in,” said coach Nancy Goplen. “The boys work hard on their technique and fitness. The KSSC has built up a long tradition of producing medal performances from the likes of Keara Maguire, Nick Goplen, and Abigail McCluskey.”
On a more regional level, nine skaters competed in Kamloops this past weekend. Naika Christenson, 11, made her racing debut and set four personal best times.
Xander Haaheim, 7, also skated to four personal best times while Levi Rubuliak, 7, raced to two personal bests. Calla Haaheim, 10, and Cai Collingwood, 8, both achieved one personal best each.
With the upcoming interest generated from the Pyeongchang Games, the KSSC will welcome interested skaters to the sport. There will be demonstrations, games and races on Monday, Feb. 12 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the City Family Day event the Capital News Centre.
The club can be contacted at kelownaspeedskating.com
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