Island squad turns in strong showing at Canada East competition

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P.E.I.'s short track speed skaters made the most of home ice at the Canada East Short Track Championships presented by Irving Oil, during the weekend at the Eastlink Centre.

P.E.I. coach Sarah Taylor said she was very proud of the Island team. 

"These kids have trained very hard this year and they deserve the great results they achieved," she said. "We had more top-10 finishes than ever before and our skaters showed that they're able to compete with not only New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but also with Ontario and Quebec athletes. 

"They should be very proud of their accomplishments and take some added confidence into next season after what they achieved this weekend and this season."

Andrew Binns led the way for the Island contingent, posting fourth-place finishes in both his 200-metre sprint and 2,000-metre points races. The Stratford native also improved on his own provincial record times in the 200- and 400-metre distances for 12-year-old boys en route to fifth-place overall finish in his age group.

The finishes were the best to date for an Island skater competing at Canada East, which brings the best 11- to 15-year-old skaters from Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Nunavut together to close the speed skating season.

Stratford's Mia Stewart broke Miram Burnett’s three-year-old P.E.I. record for 12 year-old girls in the 200 metre and set another pair of PBs in her other timed events, finishing 15th among 12 year-old girls.

Kyle Connell and Kristen Binns posted top-10 overall finishes in the 13-year-old boys and 14-year-old girls categories, respectively.

Connell wrapped up his strong season with new PBs in his 200- and 400-metre sprint events, along with an exciting win in the B final of the 2,000-metre points race, to secure ninth in his age group.

Binns had her best finish and set a new PB in the 400-metre distance, where she finished eighth to help secure the top-10 overall placement.

Jenna Larter of North Wiltshire grabbed a strong seventh-place finish in the 200-metre sprint, after shaving more than a second off her PB time in the two lap race to finish ahead of a trio of Quebec and Ontario skaters in the distance, helping her take 11th overall in her age category. 

Charlottetown's Matt Kozma, making his second appearance in the Canada East event, grabbed PBs in his 200- and 400-metre distances, while posting a top-10 finish in the 1,500-metre event for 14-year-old boys.

Thomas McQuaid posted a PB in the 1,500-metre distance as well as in the 200-metre sprint, plus a top-10 finish in the 400-metre event.

McQuaid also teamed with Andrew Binns and Connell in the 3,000-metre relay for 12- and 13-year-old boys, where the Island trio skated a pair of clean races to take fifth spot among 10 teams and finishing ahead of a pair of Ontario teams.

Matthew McKenna, Daniel MacKinnon, Carter Bruce and Simon Hale, each making their first appearances in Canada East, nabbed multiple PBs to mark a very successful weekend.

Bruce took nearly two seconds off his previous best 400-metre time, along with a PB in the 200-metre event to cap a fine season.

Hale, from Charlottetown, was one of just two Islanders to grab PBs in all three of his timed distances, while McKenna and MacKinnon each had a pair of PBs.

Quebec skaters dominated the overall competition, winning 100 of the 108 medals up for grabs, while Team Ontario won seven medals and New Brunswick one.

Personal bests

A look at the new personal best times set during the Canada East Short Track speed skating championship in Charlottetown.

                 Previous time   New time    Difference (seconds)

Mia Stewart

1,500 metre        3.07304     3.0669       0.614

200 metre           0.24053     0.2385       0.203*

400 metre           0.45252     0.45183     0.069

Jenna Larter

200 metre          0.23663     0.2297       0.693

Kristen Binns

400 metre         0.45459     0.44977     0.482

Simon Hale

1,500 metre      3.17911     3.15684     2.227

200 metre        0.25681     0.25023     0.658

400 metre        0.48282     0.47155     1.127

Andrew Binns

200 metre         0.21368     0.21026     0.342*

400 metre         0.40304     0.39781     0.523*

Carter Bruce

200 metre         0.23779     0.23369     0.41

400 metre         0.46071     0.44273     1.798

Kyle Connell

200 metre          0.22086     0.21475     0.611

400 metre          0.41866     0.41118     0.748

Thomas McQuaid

1,500 metre       2.48844     2.44746     4.098

200 metre          0.22595     0.22296     0.299

Daniel MacKinnon

1,500 metre      3.18439     2.59079     19.36

200 metre        0.25151     0.2443       0.721

Matthew Kozma

200 metre        0.22724     0.227         0.024

400 metre       0.42538     0.41854     0.684

Matthew McKenna

200 metre       0.25369     0.2486       0.509

400 metre       0.48385     0.46969     1.416

* Improved on own provincial record.

Organizations: Irving Oil, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Canada East, Ontario, Quebec New Brunswick Stratford Charlottetown Nova Scotia Atlantic Canada Nunavut

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