Alexa Scott was the top Canadian long track skater on opening day of the 2019 ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Baselga di Pine, earning an eighth-place finish in the ladies 1500m.
Scott, a native of Clandeboye, Man., posted a time of 2:08.168 to earn her country’s only top 10 result of the day. It also eclipsed her previous best result at the world junior level, a 21st place finish in last year’s 3000m in Salt Lake City.
“I’m super excited about my top eight finish,” said the reigning Canadian junior champion. “The goal going into this competition was top eight. Nerves were pretty high going into the 1500m, but I think I was able to cope and put out a solid performance.”
Ophélie Juneau of St-Raymond, Que. finished the 1500m in 16th position (2:11.288), while Gabrielle Jelonek of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que. was 23rd (2:13.178) and Gabrielle Sanson of Moose Jaw, Saks. was 33rd (2:17.150).
Scott was also the top ranked Canadian in the ladies 500m, racing to a 22nd place result with a time of 40.829. Jelonek was 30th (41.355), Sanson was 34th (41.606) and Juneau was 35th, setting a new personal best of 41.622.
On the men’s side, Frank Roth of Calgary, Alta. and Hubert Marcotte of Pont-Rouge, Que finished 14th (37.157) and 15th (37.317) in the 500m, respectively. Teammate Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta. was 28th (37.602), while Jack Deibert of Calgary, Alta. was 50th (38.451).
In the men’s 1500m, Howe, who is participating in his third consecutive junior world championships, was the top performer with a 14th place result (1:53.940). Marcotte finished 21st (1:55.197), Deibert 26th (1:56.947) and Roth 34th (1:59.375) in the same distance.
Competing on the international stage is something five of these Canadian skaters are doing for the very first time in their careers, and it is an experience they won’t soon forget.
“My first world juniors have been a really amazing experience!” said Roth. “Putting on the Canada suit and racing at such an incredible venue has felt unreal. I feel extremely thankful and proud to be able to represent my country here. Coming into racing with a cold was less than ideal, but I was able to execute relatively well in my 500 and 1500 and would for sure deem the day a success.”
“Unreal!” echoed Marcotte about his first day at the world junior championship. “It was my first time with that many spectators and it felt incredible.”
The Dutch led the way with four medals on the ladies’ side, including a pair for Femke Kok, with Poland and Norway grabbing the others. Japan and Russia earned two medals apiece in the men’s races, with Korea and Italy also reaching the podium.
The competition continues Saturday with the 1000m, ladies’ 3000m and men’s 5000m, while the team sprint, team pursuit and mass start races are set for Sunday.
The full list of participating athletes and the distances they will be contesting this weekend is below.
- JELONEK, Gabrielle (Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, QC) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, Team Pursuit
- JUNEAU, Ophélie (St-Raymond, QC) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, Team Pursuit
- SANSON, Gabrielle (Moose Jaw, SK) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, Mass Start, Team Sprint, Team Pursuit
- SCOTT, Alexa (Clandeboye, MB) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, Team Sprint
- DEIBERT, Jack (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, Team Pursuit
- HOWE, Connor (Canmore, AB) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, Mass Start, Team Sprint, Team Pursuit
- MARCOTTE, Hubert (Pont-Rouge, QC) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, Mass Start, Team Sprint, Team Pursuit
- ROTH, Frank (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, Team Sprint