The Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club held its annual short-track meet Saturday where 99 competitors from across the province participated.
For the final time on the club’s 70th anniversary, the annual meet was held at the Kinex Arena which has been home to the club for decades. After Saturday’s event, the club will no longer hold their meet at the arena but instead, they will be held at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre in 2023.
Club registrar and meet recorder Alison Wigelsworth said it’s one of the earlier meets in the season for Speed Skating Alberta and is a good learning experience for many of the athletes.
“The kids had a really fun day. Lots of smiles on their faces and the older kids who really are trying to move to the next level they also had a really good day of racing, lots of personal bests,” she said. “We were excited to have so many people come out from around the province and we’re looking forward to our long-track meet in January.”
The long-track meet will be held at Setters Place Jan. 14-15. It’s a two-day ability meet for all ages but it’s also an Alberta qualifier for the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships in February in Fort Saint John.
Every skater raced five times against competitors with similar recorded times and skill levels regardless of their age or gender and the distance was dependent on their abilities. This way they got a fun and competitive experience.
In speed skating, it’s only the older kids separated by age and gender. The times were recorded by Speed Skating Alberta and if the athletes post fast times they can move up and go against stronger competition.
For many of the athletes, it was their third meet of the season after two were held in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
The club is looking forward to moving to the G.H. Dawe Community Centre once renovations have been completed and their departure from the Kinex Arena is bittersweet because of the relationships they’ve formed with the staff.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with the city and the staff at the Kinex Arena. They go above and beyond to make sure the ice is ready for our meet in the morning… I think some of the staff are a little sad to see us go but I mean we’ll make those relationships with them at our new arena too of course,” she added.
Some of the members of the Central Lions Speed Skating Club recorded personal bests including Keaton Tarbett in the 500 metre, Grayson Fox in the 100m, Adler Willis in the 100m, and Scarlett Farand in the 100m, 200m, and 400m.
Megan Bartels also reached personal best times in the 100m, 200m, and 400m. Gunna Norvilla won the silver medal in division six and placed personal best times in all three distances.