Williams Lake speed skater qualifies for Canadian Western Speed Skating Championships

"I'm really proud of myself for achieving that." - Leah Lauren

The Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association shot its way north to Prince George earlier this month for the BC Short Track Speed Skating Championships March 2-3.

Five skaters from the club — Ty Lauren, Leah Lauren, Isaac Plant, Sarah Plant and Henry Beaton-Fleming — joined hundreds of young athletes from throughout the province for the two-day event, which featured some of the best in B.C.

“I’m really happy with how we made out,” said Williams Lake Bullets head coach Tania Lauren. “It was a very positive experience, and next year we’re looking forward to bringing an even bigger group who will be eligible to go.”

For Leah, the event was a spectacular one, as she qualified for the Canadian Western Speed Skating Championships coming up March 23-24 in Grande Prairie, Alta.

The 13-year-old finished fourth in the province in Prince George, and garnered her spot to Canadian Westerns after one of the top three in B.C. was unable to commit to attend.

At the BCSTSSC, Leah raced in the 200-metre, 400-metre and 1,500-metre events.

“I was a bit surprised,” Leah said of her results. “I went there thinking I’d finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. I was obviously trying for Canada Wests and then in my first race I finished second in my first 1,500-metre heat, which I really wasn’t expecting, and then I started thinking maybe I could qualify.”

“I’m really proud of myself for achieving that.”

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Tania, who also just so happens to be Leah’s mom, also said it was very exciting for her daughter, and for the Bullets.

“We’ve never had anybody go from here,” Tania said. “It’s the first time a club member has qualified for the Canadian Westerns.”

Leah’s brother Ty, meanwhile, managed eighth in his Train 2 Train 14 (T2T14) division, while Isaac also took eighth in the T2T13 category. Henry finished 14th in his Learn 2 Train 12 (L2T12) class. Sarah, unfortunately, was unable to compete at the BCSTSSC due to a leg injury.

And as for the upcoming Canadian Western Speed Skating Championships, Leah said she’s going to continue training and give it her all.

“It’s mostly just a learning experience for me, I think,” Leah said. “I’m going to try my best and do the best I can and we’ll see where I end up.”

Leah started training with the Bullets during its inception eight years ago, and said she’s worked hard to improve so much in the sport.

“I used to be not even close to as fast as my brother, Ty,” she said. “But I’ve taken quite a bit of time off my longer distance races.

“I like the shorter races, but think I maybe do better at the longer ones.”

Leah added she’s proud to be representing the Bullets at the Canadian Western Speed Skating Championships.

“Last year I tried out for the BC Winter Games and I didn’t make it, but the hard work paid off and I’m proud to be the first one to make it from our club.”

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