Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 11, 2013

Speedskating roster set for Arctic Winter Games

The roster for the Yukon’s speedskating team heading to the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska next March has been revealed.

By Marcel Vander Wier on December 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MADE THE TEAM – Micah Taggart-Cox, left, and Michael Ritchie, pictured at a time trial last month, have skated their way onto the Arctic Winter Games speedskating team.

The roster for the Yukon’s speedskating team heading to the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska next March has been revealed.

The Yukon Amateur Speed Skating Association hosted the trials for the northern multi-sport tournament at the Canada Games Centre Sunday night.

Shea Hoffman and Hanna Wirth of Whitehorse will compete in the junior division, while Michael Ritchie of Haines Junction, Micah Taggart-Cox of Marsh Lake, and brothers Caleb and Jacob MacPherson of Whitehorse will make up the juvenile division for the Yukon team.

The Arctic Winter Games will be held March 15 to 22, 2014 and will include approximately 2,000 athletes, ranging in age from 13 to 24.

“I knew this would be the group just because they have such low numbers and we can’t even field a full team,” said coach Phil Hoffman. “There’s no time standards, it’s mostly for those who are dedicated to the sport and are putting in the time.”

Sixteen other skaters came out Sunday to challenge the six eventually named to the team.

Those trying out for the squad had to skate 500-, 666-, 777-, 1,000-, and 1,500-metre distances as individuals, and 2,000- and 3,000-metre relays.

Shea Hoffman and Wirth had very respectable times in each of their events, while three of the four juvenile skaters scored personal bests in at least one of their races.

In the 1,000-m race, Taggart-Cox and Ritchie placed first and second in a photofinish – each of them shaving 10 seconds off their previous best in the process.

Caleb McPherson placed third, shaving off 12 seconds from his previous best.

“With the juvenile boys, only Michael has Arctic Winter Games experience,” said coach Hoffman. “Where he’s at right now, he should do OK in that group. Micah should do fairly well too, but it’s always hard to say, because you never know what other places are going to have.”

Hoffman said he has high hopes for his son, Shea, at the upcoming Games.

“Shea should be in the mix,” he said. “From what I know, there’s three or four other fairly strong skaters from the other jurisdictions in their group. I’m hoping he’ll be in the top three for all of them.”

Whitehorse speedskater Heather Clarke, currently training in Calgary, had expressed interest in joining the team earlier this season, but ultimately decided against it.

Both Clarke and Shea Hoffman competed at the 2013 Western Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Single Distance Championship in Richmond, B.C. last month.

Clarke finished second in the 500-m race in a photofinish against Hannah Clark of Yellowknife. In a field of 34, Clarke managed another second, two thirds and a fourth-place finish.

Shea Hoffman’s best result was in the 1,000-m, where he placed 15th out of 34 skaters in 1:46.27.

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