The Prairie Central district was downright dominant at the speed skating events for the Saskatchewan Winter Games. Of the 10 speed skating events held at the Battleford Arena Monday to Wednesday, Prairie Central teamed up for six golds and 12 total medals.
Daniel Pauli from Warman was the big winner, winning three gold medals and two silvers. On Wednesday, he completed his golden hat trick with a first place finish in the 3,000-metre race. He later earned a silver along with Prairie Central in the boys 2,000-metre team event.
Earlier in the week, Pauli also earned gold medals in the 200 m and 400 m events earlier in the week, as well as a silver in the 1,500 metres.
“I was just staying calm throughout my races,” Pauli said. “I knew I had the ability to win all the races, I had to come out with my strategies and execute them.
“It’s really nice, it’s humbling to being able to do this.”
Prairie Central speed skating coach Jim Hrycuik said that Pauli’s preparation plays a big part in his results.
“Daniel’s at that point where he’s training six times a week, wanting to get better physically but also mentally as well so that he’s prepared for really close competitions,” Hrycuik said. “When it comes down to a thousandth of a second, it’s that will to push yourself just that little bit to make that difference.”
That definitely came in handy on Wednesday, as Pauli’s 5:59.468 time in the 3,000 metres was able to edge out a pair of Saskatoon skaters in Bon Lowe, 5:59.509 and Keagan Waddington, 5:59.709.
On the girls’ side, Prairie Central’s Serena Dallaire finished high as well. The Casa Rio native also earned gold in the 3,000m, the 1,500 metres and 2,000 metre relay, while also picking up a silver medal in the 400m. Kiera Bracha also had three medals for Prairie Central, bronze in the 3,000 metres, silver in the 1,500m and bronze in the 400m.
“It’s great to represent Prairie Central and have them with the successes they had,” Hrycuik said. “But the nice thing with speed skating is, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, they encourage each other. After the race, a close race like that, they’re giving themselves high fives and praising each other… Those are the nice things we see in speed skating, the comradery off the ice and the fierce competitors on the ice.”
The hosting district Rivers West earned a bronze medal in the 2,000 m boys team event. Koby Bossaer, Jared Nichol and Jacob Butt skated together with Rivers West, along with Saskatoon’s Kalem Makowsky.
On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW
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