Three Kelowna speed skaters have earned berths on the zone 2 (Thompson Okanagan) team for the upcoming 2014 B.C Winter Games.
Connie Kapak, Eli Schock and Chase Bradbury each placed in the two two spots in their respective divisions last weekend at the games trials at the Capital News Centre.
Kapak, 14, took top spot in the U16 age division. In 2012, Kapak won multiple medals and plans to repeat that trend at the BCWG in Mission, Feb. 20 to 23.
Schock, 15, a past competitor at the International Games will make his first trip to the BCWG in the U16 male division. Schock skated multiple personal bests to capture second spot in the division. Bradbury, 12, raced to second place finishes in all events to secure the second spot in the U14 division. This will be Bradbury’s first trip to the BCWG. Justine Beleutz, Nathan Locke and Liam Smith will be named as alternates in the U14 division. Local coaches, Nancy Goplen and Dave Walsh will accompany the team to the Games.
In the Kelowna Invitational portion of the competition, newcomer Matt Hopley raced to several personal best times along with Jacob Rubuliak, Oliver Richardson and Danjela Graves in the Learn to Train Division. Goplen was very pleased with the progress her young skaters are making.
“They are a keen group of skaters that listen and push each other at each practice,” Goplen said.
There is also some new talent on the rise with the Kelowna Speed Skating Club. This was the first sanctioned competition for many Kelowna skaters such as Tejan Govender, Shannon Lindquist, Luka Lukic De Bakker and Brian Fiset-Kinzel, Simon and Chloe Yanow, Athina Merckx, Ryne Van Vliet Boruwn, Talia Halperin and Lauren Gray.
“This new group of skaters is an exciting group to follow and coached by Richelle Slade, Randy Sauer and Colleen Bennett,” Goplen added.