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Pearman making her mark on speed skating

Maddison Pearman may be making her mark on the international speed skating scene a little earlier than even she imagined.

Pearman turned in a superb performance at the Canada Cup No. 2 in Calgary earlier this month, earning her a berth on the Canadian junior national team to compete at the world championships in Collalbo, Italy, Feb. 22-24.

“I was kind of surprised (to make the team) as I went in thinking I’d be sixth or seventh, but I finished fourth,” said the 16-year-old from Ponoka, who is a member of the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club.

Pearman won the 500 and 1,500 metre races while finishing second in 3,000 and sixth in the 1,000. Not bad considering she had a problem with her skate in the 1,000.

“I was slipping on every corner, but it wasn’t terrible, but I could have skated better,” she said. “But I did have personal best times in the other three events, so I was happy with that.”

Pearman has skated at Canada Cup meets before, but this was her first wins. She has also skated at one World Cup and will get her second taste of World Cup competition this weekend in Minnesota.

“We go there before we go to Italy,” she explained.

There’s a junior World Cup final Feb. 16-17 in Italy prior to the world championships.

Pearman will be skating in the 500 and 1,000 for the national team.

“The 1,000 is my favourite distance. I’d rather do the 1,000 and 1,500, but the sprints will be fine,” she added.

Pearman got involved in the sport when she was five, when her older sister, Brooke, became involved thanks to the urging of her mother Shawna, who is the head coach of the Lions and a former national level skater.

“I’ve been involved for 11 to 12 years . . . it’s a big part of my life,” said Pearman, who is in Grade 11 in Ponoka and plans on finishing her schooling before moving to Calgary and train at the Olympic Oval.

“It’s a sport where you peak at 25, 26 so going down later won’t affect my skating career,” she said. “In fact it’s a sport where it doesn’t matter how old you are if you put in the effort you can peak at a later age. Danielle Wotherspoon is in her 30s and is still peaking. You can do it for a lot of years.”

Pearman has always had her mother as her coach, which has it’s ups and downs.

“I think it’s hard on both of us at times as she wants to treat me as a skater, but I’m also her daughter. On the other hand she’s my coach, but also my mother. At times I get mad, but it’s still been a very good relationship. She knows how to handle me as a skater rather than her daughter and how I react to things. She knows me much better than anyone else knows me.”

Pearman has skated in both long track and short track, including as late as last December when she placed 21st in the Canadian junior short track championships. She also was 12th in the Canadian junior championships last February.

“I always liked short track, but this year I’ve switched a bit,” she said.

Pearman spent last August in Calgary training for short track, but now when she heads to the oval she spends time watching national long track athletes, such as Christine Nesbitt, train.

“I go to Calgary a lot and get a chance to see how hard they train. I train for 11 months a year, but I know to continue to improve I’ll need to train even harder if I want to get to the next level. But I also realize I have to concentrate on my schooling first then when that’s over I’ll move on.”

Pearman, who turns 17 on Jan, 23, has two years of junior eligibility remaining.

She was on hand for the Alberta Open long track meet at the Golden Circle Oval during the weekend, but didn’t compete.

A number of Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House athletes did compete in the mixed genders mass start events.

In Division 1, Nolan Gray of Red Deer placed third with Connor Lagroix of Rocky fourth and Tess Pearman fifth and Bryndelle MacDougall of Red Deer eighth.

In Division 2, Josh Fuerbringer, Ashley Charles and Amy Charles, all of Red Deer, were sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Division 3 saw Adam Guthrie of Red Deer take sixth while Brandon O’Connell of Red Deer was fourth, Kenny Bertagnolli of Rocky fifth and Cody McCuaig of Rocky eighth in Division 4.

In Division 5, Max Krabben and Phoenix Graham of Rocky were fourth and sixth with Connor MacDougall and Adam Hucal of Red Deer seventh and eighth and Nicholas Little of Rocky ninth.

Rachel O’Connell of Red Deer was first in Division 6 with Owen Pimm and Brinley Davidson of Red Deer third and fourth. Red Deer’s Jasmine Belisle took seventh, Emily Lerouge eighth, Mara Jenkins ninth and Allison Guthrie 10th.

Thomas Lok of Red Deer won the Division 7 title with Horatio Rostuch of Rocky second, Erin Findlay of Red Deer third, Piet Dijkstra of Red Deer fourth and James Wigelsworth of Red Deer seventh.



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