Kali Christ reaches the podium with a Canadian junior record

The season came to an end for the long track speed skaters today, as they were facing off this weekend at the Canada Cup #4 competition, presented at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. In addition to ending the season on top of the podium, Kali Christ (Regina, SK) recorded a new Canadian junior record in the 1500m.

Christ was impressive in the 1500m, crossing the line in a time of 1:58.60, outdistancing her closest competitor, Kirsti Lay (Regina, SK), by 65 hundredths of a second. Lay recorded a time of 1:59.25, while fellow Canadian Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) finished 3rd in 1:59.87.

“I’m really happy. I wanted to win, but my biggest goal was to give everything I had,” affirmed the skater who was sitting in 5th spot in the overall Canada Cup standings before the weekend’s competition began. “I followed my game plan to a tee. I had a really good start and in order to make sure I would step on the podium, I had to accelerate the pace,” explained Christ.

The Saskatchewan native had no idea that she had broken the Canadian junior record. “We didn’t know that the race’s tempo was that fast. Still, I can’t hide the fact that the record was one of my goals. I knew I was capable of getting a time below 1:59 in the 1500m,” said Lay, who cut 0.07 seconds off the old mark, held by Nicole Garrido.

In virtue of her results this weekend, Christ strongly believes in her chances of joining the national development team next year. “Since I was a little girl, I’ve always tried to push myself to the limit. If I make the national development squad, it will be another big step that I’ve accomplished in my life,” confided Christ.

Among the men, Mykola Makowsky of Saskatchewan was the fastest, clocking a time of 1:47.09, a tenth of a second quicker than Quebec skater Laurent Dubreuil. Ontario native Richard Maclennan completed the podium, finishing 3rd in a time of 1:47.47.

“I had a really good race. My start was solid, and everything went quite well through the first two turns, explained Makowsky. That said, in the third corner, I started to feel a bit of pain in my right leg. In the end, I’m just really happy with the result, that I was able to pull off the win.”

This performance makes up in some sort for an up and down season. “I had a tough year. I worked really hard to be in top shape physically, but when I got on the ice something always seemed to go wrong. That said, in the last couple of weeks, everything has seemed to fall into place, which is a relief because it’s important for me to end the season on a good note.”

So that does it for this year’s long track speed skating season. All skaters will now profit from a few weeks off before starting training for the upcoming 2011-12 season.