Team NT’s Wren Acorn placed eighth in the women’s 1,500m at the 2019 Canada Games, the territory’s best individual speed skating result at this level in more than a decade.
The 15-year-old could not avoid a fallen skater in the final’s closing stages and fell herself, finishing last of the eight contenders, but her semi-final skate to reach the final had been a confident, consummate performance.
“Unfortunately, there was a fall. She looked like she was going to get by, but ran out of room,” said her coach, Shane Clark.
“A tough result, but top eight in Canada? Pretty impressive.”
Acorn, who finished last season ranked 31st among Canadian juniors (including skaters several years older than her, as is also the case at the Canada Games), earlier came through her semi-final in second place to reach the A final in Red Deer.
Her result is the NWT’s best individual Canada Games result in short track speed skating since 2007.
Four years ago, the territory’s female short track relay team finished a surprise fourth in Prince George.
At the 2011 edition of the Games in Halifax, Hannah Clark posted that year’s best individual finish for a Team NWT athlete, 11th in the women’s 1,500m. Jill Gilday had fifth and sixth-place finishes at the 2007 Canada Games in Whitehorse.
Hannah Clark was there to see Acorn’s performance on Monday – she is Team NT’s speed skating mission staff member, providing logistics support to this year’s team. Her father, Shane, is the coach, while Wren’s mother, Kerry Egan, is the team manager.
Brendan Green won the NWT’s last gold medal at a Canada Games in cross-country skiing in 2007. Brent Betsina took silver in judo in 2015.
Acorn, however, has been voicing her ambition to go even further – to the Olympics, with Team Canada – for years.
“I think she’s on her plan,” said Shane Clark following Monday’s final.
“I think it’s bang on. She has the drive and ambition to get wherever she wants to be.”