Saturday April 19, 2014


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Jacob going for gold at Nationals

handout photo

Dawson Creek's Jacob Graham, who skates with the Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club, left for Quebec City this week to compete in the Canadian Junior Championships that run Feb. 1-3 at the Gaetan-Boucher National Centre.

Fort St. John Elks speed skater Jacob Graham left for Quebec City on Wednesday to compete in the Canadian Junior Championships Feb. 1-3 where hes hoping to make the podium this time around.

Last year at the same event Graham, 15, finished fourth in the sprint division.

I did pretty good last year, so hopefully I can get a podium finish this year, he said from the B.C. Long Track Championships on Sunday.

It went really good [this weekend] and I think Im going to skate really well in Quebec. Im getting really excited, he said. I already missed out on the Junior World Trials to go to Italy, so theres nothing huge that I really have to do this year so Im just going to go there and have fun with it and do the best I could.

At the provincial long tracks at the Pomeroy Sport Centre this past weekend, Graham only competed in three races, two 500 metres and the 1,000 to warm up for Quebec City.

I just wanted to come here for a bit of race prep and stay on the edge, Graham explained at the time. I still treated it as if I would for any race, it was just physically and mentally to prepare myself [for Quebec].

Graham finished second in the 500 m with a time 0:37.82 as well as second in the 1,000 m, both finishes only a second after national speed skater Jay Morrison.

I think his second 500 and 1,000 were the best races Ive seen him do, said Grahams speed skating coach Richard Stickel. His times were really good, and I think hell do well there. Hes on a mission to show what he can do and I think its going to be really special.

Its a brand new thing being really, really good and hes not surprising anyone anymore, Stickel added. Hes going there and they know who he is, so its good to go there and skate and have expectations of yourself.

Graham, whos in Grade 11 at Dawson Creek Secondary School, is still adjusting to competing at the high performance level, but is determined to medal in Quebec City. He still has two years left in the Junior category and said he has plenty of time to prove himself and make it to Worlds.

I think my 500 m is probably my best [race], but my 1,000 is pretty close. From then on the longer ones start to really hurt me, he said.

I think [Quebec City] will be really good.

Graham will be joined by fellow Dawson Creek speed skater Braden Clouthier, 18, who trains out of Calgary. The Junior Championships begin Friday at the Gaetan-Boucher National Centre with the finals scheduled for Sunday.



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