It was a podium day for Alberta’s short track speedskaters as both men’s and women’s relay teams took silver at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Cezara Bere said it all seemed to come together in the finals.
“I just felt we were really on it as a team from the beginning of the season until now,” said Calgary’s Bere, 14, the youngest member of the women’s team.
“We really bonded from the beginning of the season as a team. That really helped us in the long run with our team work on and off the ice.
“We also didn’t give up. We kept trying things. We kept trying to pass, kept trying new things, and it worked out.”
Quebec took gold in the relay with B.C. picking up the bronze.
Bere said the Winter Games experience has been great for the team.
“We loved it. It’s been really fun.”
Molly Young, another Calgarian, who didn’t race the finals but participated in the heats, agreed it’s been a great week.
“The whole experience has been amazing. It’s so cool to see athletes from other provinces and different sports.
“It’s cool to meet new people and it’s just been a really, really fun and a cool experience overall.”
Young said their training paid off on Friday.
“We’ve just been training really hard in practice, working on our exchanges with each other. I think that’s what’s got us to the second-place finish.
“We had really good communication. That’s what put us there for sure.”
The rest of the team includes: Victoria Goplen, Caitlin Pelkey and Hee-Won Son.
Men’s relay team silver medallist Brendan Yamada, of Calgary, also credited the amount of work they did before they got to Red Deer for their success.
“We spent a lot of time preparing. We tried a lot of different exhange patterns and we were all feeling really good going into this relay.
“We all bonded really well and were feeling really strong.”
“We skated really well and had some nice exchanges, but just a few nice moves by the Quebec skaters set them ahead a little bit.”
Quebec, Canada’s speedskating powerhouse, took gold, and New Brunswick bronze.
“We tried our best and it was the best result men’s relay has had in a long time, so we’re really proud of that,” said Yamada.
“We’re going to hopefully bring it on for the next games, and hopefully the younger skaters can do even better.”
The whole Games experience has been great, he said.
“We’ve had a lot of time to see other sports and meet new people and make new friends.
“We’ve had a lot of time to explore and get to know people and get the experience of the Olympic Games just within Canada.”
The rest of the relay team includes: Mathias Bathe, Benjamin Côté, Matej Pederson (who also won bronze in the 1,500 metres), and Neithan Thomas.
In the men’s 3,000-metre points race, Quebec speedskaters took the top four spots led by gold medallist Nicholas Perreault. Silver went to William Dandjinou and bronze to Manuel Falardeau. Félix Roussel finished fourth and Yamada fifth.
Three other Albertans finished in the top 10: Pederson (seventh), Bathe (eighth) and Neithan (ninth). Côté finished 13th.
In the women’s 3,000-metre race, B.C.’s Claudia Heeney took gold, followed by two Quebec speedskaters; silver medallist Juliette Brindamour and bronze medallist Kélian Quevillon.
Alberta’sBere finished sixth, Son, ninth; Goplen, 13th; and Pelkey, 14th; and Young 32nd.