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Olympic Oval – OVAL SKATERS LEAD THE WAY INTO THIS WEEKEND’S SEMI FINALS AT #WECWINTERFEST
Western Elite Circuit Overall Champions to be crowned Sunday at the U of C Olympic Oval

CALGARY, AB – The quarterfinals of the Short Track Western Elite Circuit (WEC) #3 1500m, 500m and 1000m events were completed today at the University of Calgary Olympic Oval.  It was another strong day for the home side as many Olympic Oval skaters found themselves atop the competition leaderboard.

In the women’s division – National team skater Jamie MacDonald was as good as advertised coming off her recent World Cup medal in Dordrecht.  MacDonald cruised into the top 8 in each of the 500m, 1000m events and the top 12 of the 1500m event.  Joining MacDonald with solid performances in each distance is her teammate Courtney Shmyr (a National Development team skater) and their Oval teammates; Marika Nadal and Sam Morrison.  The current top women’s junior going into the weekend is Hee Won Son of Banff who qualified for the top 8 in both the 500m and 1000m events.

The men’s division is currently led by Oval skaters Jacob MacKenzie and Jesse Slusar who also qualified for the top 8 in the 500m & 1000m events as well as the top 12 in the men’s 1500m event.  A pair of Oval coached juniors continue to push the pace as Hayden Mayeur and Marco Schumann both qualified for the top 12 in the 1500m event.

The WEC has the primary goal of providing quality racing opportunities for the developing Junior and Neo-Senior athletes.  The circuit’s previous two events were held in two venues: WEC #1 – Oktoberfest which took place at the Calgary Oval in October and WEC #2 which was held at the Richmond Oval in December.  Competitor’s rankings are based on their point totals from Oktoberfest (which equals 20% of their WEC total) and WEC #2 – Richmond and WEC Winterfest in Calgary which each represent 40% of the competitors WEC overall score.

The top 3 Overall WEC points leaders entering this competition in the women’s open division were: Son of Banff, AB; Heather Clarke of Whitehorse, YK and Hannah Clarke of Yellowknife, NWT.   Son led both the open and U-17 ranks – in the latter she was followed closely by Calgary’s Abbey Young and Edmonton’s Cheyenne Goh.  The men’s open division was led by Ontario’s Sam McEachran, Norwegian skater Einar Degenstein and Mayeur as mentioned.  The WEC Championship picture should come into focus following tomorrow’s 1500m and 500m finals when points are awarded for the overall standings.

Saturday will bring with it the men’s and women’s 1500m and 500m semifinals and finals.  The action kicks off tomorrow morning at 9:30AM on the North Rink with the women’s 1500m races.  The 1000m semi-finals and finals will wrap things up on Sunday. (FULL SCHEDULES ATTACHED)

Ladies and Mens Superfinal relays will be held on Sunday – fields were based off the rankings from the 1000m and semi-final heats were skated today.  Points accumulated in the Superfinals will not count towards the competitors points for the WEC rankings. 

For all the updates on the action down at the Oval (and maybe even some #JPPenguin pics) be sure to follow us on Twitter or Instagram (@TheOlympicOval) and “like us” on Facebook! (Facebook.com/TheOlympicOval)

Please contact Olympic Oval Communications and Community Relations Specialist Ryan Ohashi for more information.  For information throughout the 2015/16 season, visit www.oval.ucalgary.ca

The Olympic Oval, located on the University of Calgary Campus, is a world class speed skating and high performance sport facility dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and health and wellness for all. Home to the Fastest Ice in the World™, 294 world records have been set at the Oval in both long and short track speed skating since opening day in 1987. Aside from playing host to numerous speed skating competitions every year, the Oval also offers high performance training, public skating, and public running to be enjoyed by residents, visitors, and students alike. The facility acts mainly as a winter sport establishment, but opens its doors as an ice-out venue during the spring months. Always working to maintain the facility’s legacy as being “The Best Ever”, the Olympic Oval continues to push to be a world leader in technology and facility improvements. 

#OvalChampions – We are entering the Olympic Oval’s Season of Champions with a plethora of events leading up to Oval Finale / Canada Cup #4 on March 17-20.   The Oval will play host to WEC #3 – Winterfest (Feb.18-21); RU-Fast (Feb. 27-28) and Olympic Oval Grand Prix (Mar.11-13).