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Gaining speed for the new year
Inuvik speedskaters aim to gain competitive edge

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012

Inuvik speedskaters are ramping up in preparation for the NWT and Canada West Championships.

NNSL photo/graphic

Alex Robertson rounds a curve during speedskating practice at the Midnight Sun Complex Saturday. - Danielle Sachs/NNSL photos

While the two championships will happen in the new year, the skaters have been practising since the ice was put into the arena in early October.

"The group two kids are the older ones and are definitely more competitive," said coach Theresa Ross. "We have five eligible skaters for Canada West and it's a huge competition."

Eligibility is based on age and performance during time trials.

There are four spots for each age category on the NWT team, but even if there's only one person eligible for the spot the skater still has to demonstrate they have the speed for the competition.

Striving to achieve

"They're really training to achieve certain times," said Ross. "With Darcie (Setzer) and Nina (Verbonac) they're competing with around six other girls for four spots."

Verbonac and Setzer, who call themselves Thing 1 and Thing 2, said they both enjoy the competition.

Last year, the Western Championships were in Winnipeg. Alex Robertson was one of the skaters who went.

"It was really fun," he said.

Robertson is one skater on the team who, based on age, is well suited to the upcoming competitions, said Ross.

"He's the only 15-year-old boy and after this he'll be eligible for the Arctic Winter Games. This time it's like his year."

NWT Speed Skating is still determining what's fair for time trials, said Ross. Skaters are faster in Yellowknife because they have more mats and the rink surface is larger, but then there are communities like Fort Simpson who don't have the ice in yet.

"NWT Speed Skating is good about understanding the communities," said Ross. "It's fair but still competitive. Kids have to earn it, they all have goals and these kids are well on their way."

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