For some, competing in the Age Class Long Track Speed Skating Nationals is an annual occurrence, but for Matthew Mitchell, 12, this year’s event in Winnipeg marks the first time he will skate in a national event.
“I’m really excited. My sister Amanda has gone before and says it’s really fun. My whole family has speed skated and it means a lot for me to be able to go to nationals as well,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell is one of five Fort St. John Elks skaters who are in Winnipeg for the event this weekend, which goes Feb. 9 and 10. Joining him are Emma North, Cheyanne Key, Hannah North, and Sidney Bennie. Dakotah Ruel of theDawson Creek Speed Skating Club travelled with the group as well.
Mitchell qualified for the national competition by finishing first in his age group at the 2019 B.C. Long Track Championships. He will skate in the 1500m, the 300m, the 500m, and the Seven-lap ISU, but prefers the long distance races.
“I’m better at longer races. I like having time and space to get in the groove and race,” said Mitchell.
As for results, Mitchell has high hopes.
“I really hope I medal, but I’ll be happy with some personal bests as well. I’m confident I’ll do good,” Mitchell said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.