Kelowna skaters Erik Haaheim, #147, and Noah Rubuliak, #60, race in the Team Pursuit event in at the National Youth Long Track Speed Skating Championships last weekend in Red Deer. (Contributed)

Kelowna skaters go the distance at national, world championships

Be it at the worlds or national championships, Kelowna Speed Skating Club performed well

Members of the Kelowna Speed Skating Club, both new and established, performed strong at their respective speed skating championships last weekend.

At the National Long Track Speed Skating Championships in Red Deer, the KSSC’s Erik Haaheim won the gold medal in the U16 division with fellow Kelowna’s skaters Noah Rubuliak and Calla Haaheim finishing strong in respective age groups.

Meanwhile, just to the south in Calgary, long-time KSSC member Abigail McCluskey continued her season at the World Cup Speed Skating Championships where she notched a personal best in the 3000 metre with a 4:03.8 time.

Back in Red Deer, KSSC coach Nancy Goplen said the Kelowna skaters performed like seasoned pros.

“They adjusted well to competing outdoors and navigated the snow and wind like veterans,” she said.

“Unlike most of the top competitors, the KSSC skaters do not have the luxury of training on a 400m oval so I was really proud of their results, especially in the distance events.”

Rubuliak finished 10th overall in the U15 division while teaming up with Erik Haaheim and Vernon’s Nate Bell to earn the bronze medal in the Team Pursuit event.

Calla Haaheim finished 13th overall in the U13 division.

READ MORE: Kelowna Skating Club captures 23 medals at Okanagan championships

READ MORE: Kelowna skaters impress at B.C. championships

McCluskey now moves to the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships this weekend in Salt Lake City, U.S and will finish the season at the World Sprint Championships in Norway at the end of the month.

Goplen said that McCluskey’s career is proof of how far young skaters from the Okanagan can go.

“This is just the starting point and to think of where Abigail has competed at her first world cup in Calgary, their dreams of higher level competition is possible with work beginning in Kelowna.”

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