Speed Skate P.E.I. has named its team for the Canada East Short Track Championships presented by Irving Oil.
P.E.I. is hosting the event for the first time and will boast its largest ever team, with 12 athletes set to race on home ice at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.
The Island contingent will compete in a field of more than 120 of the best 11- to 15-year-old skaters from Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and Nunavut on March 26 and 27.
Team P.E.I. will feature veterans Eliana Monthony and Kristen Binns, both in their final year of eligibility for the event, in the 14-year-old girls category. Also returning to the P.E.I. team are Kyle Connell, Thomas McQuaid, Matt Kozma and Jenna Larter.
Monthony competed for P.E.I. in two of the last three Canada East events, while Binns will make her fourth appearance. Larter, skating in the 13-year-old group, will make her second Canada East appearance, after a strong season with numerous wins on the Atlantic short track circuit. In addition to their individual events, Binns, Monthony and Larter are expected to team up in the relay event.
Kozma will take on a fast field of 14-year-old boys in his second trip to the meet, after setting a new P.E.I. record in the 1,500-metre distance earlier this season. Connell and McQuaid are also set to make their second Canada East appearances, skating in the 13-year-old boys group this season.
New to the Island team are Matthew McKenna, Daniel MacKinnon, Andrew Binns, Carter Bruce, Simon Hale and Mia Stewart. McKenna will join his teammate Kozma in the 14-year-old boys category, while MacKinnon will team with Connell and McQuaid in the 13-year-old boys category. Andrew Binns, Bruce and Hale will all make their debuts in the 12-year-old boys category.
With six males in the 12/13 age groups, P.E.I. will have the option to field two relay teams in that category and will be looking to McQuaid, Connell and Binns to anchor strong relay showings.
Stewart will be the Island's lone competitor in the 12-year-old girls division after an excellent season, including a recent gold medal win at a regional competition in Halifax earlier this month.
Sarah Taylor will be head coach for P.E.I. squad. She coached the Island's Canada Games team in 2015 and will be coaching at the Canada East event for the second time.
P.E.I.'s best ever Canada East finish was garnered by Carly Connell in 2013 with a fifth-place showing in the 200-metre sprint.
Admission is free of charge. For more information on P.E.I.'s team and the event, visit www.speedskatepei.ca/canada-east-2016/.