Morrison & Nesbitt win at trials

Morrison wins the 1,500 metres and Nesbitt takes the 3,000 at Long Track Fall World Cup Trials

– Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., and the reigning 1,500-metre world champion, won today's 1,500-metre race at Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Long Track Trials at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. The 2012 1,000- and 1,500-metre world champion, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., took top spot in the women's 3,000 metres.

Morrison, 27, outpaced the top five skaters by 1.7 seconds, crossing the finishing line in one minute and 44.73 seconds. Regina's Lucas Makowsky was second in a time of one minute 46.43 seconds, followed by Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., in third (1:46.47), Winnipeg's Tyler Derraugh in fourth (1:46.76) and Philippe Riopel of Lachenaie, Que., in fifth place (1:47.01).

Nesbitt, the 2012 Canadian 3,000-metre champion, won today's race in a time of four minutes and 8.60 seconds. Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa placed second in a time of 4:10.38. Cindy Klassen was third, stopping the clock at 4:11.42, and fellow Winnipegger Brittany Schussler was fourth in 4:12.65. Calgary's Brianne Tutt earned fifth place in a time of 4:16.63.

Three skaters in the men's 1,500 metres trials posted personal bests. Derraugh took 0.96 seconds off his previous best of 1:47.72. Alec Janssens of Chilliwack, B.C., shaved 1.38 seconds for his new personal best of 1:47.48. He finished in sixth spot. Toronto's Jordan Belchos, who placed 9th, bested his time by 0.49 seconds to cross the finish line in 1:48.59.

In the women's 3,000-metre trials, Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., was the lone skater to earn a personal best today. The 18-year-old skated the distance 0.64 seconds faster than her previous best to set a time of 4:17.73. She finished in seventh place.

See SSC's website for full results of the complete 18-man field in the trials 1,500 metres and 10 women in the 3,000 metres.

Friday will see the men competing in the 1,000 and 5,000 metres and the 1,500-metre distance for women. Racing on Saturday will feature junior men's 3,000 metres and men's 10,000 metres. Women will race the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances. On the final day of the trials on Sunday, the men and women's will skate the 500 metres twice. The women’s and men’s mass start will be held on Sunday.

The trials assist in identifying the teams for the first five World Cups of the 2012-13 season. The first long track World Cup will be held Friday, Nov. 16 to Sunday, Nov. 18 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The first event will feature all distances: two 500-metre races; 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 (women), 5,000 (men), mass start and team pursuit.