And so begins another speedskating season for Wren Acorn.
It’s a season where she’s hoping to serve notice to the rest of the country that she’s on the cusp of big things.
Acorn, 19, was in the field at the Canadian Short Track Championships in Quebec City from Oct. 14 to 16, the first big national event of the season. She finished 13th overall, amassing a total of 4,219 points over the course of the event. Each race she skated awarded points based on where a skater finished, with the four best results out of the six races counting toward the final score.
Acorn said the final standing was about where she feels she should have finished.
“I’m happy, because I know those who are above me are better than I am right now,” she said. “My result is what I’ve been averaging, so I’m happy with where I was. It’s a promising start and a good jumping-off point. Mentally, I’m happy with where I’m at and I’m ready to have a good season.”
Each distance — 500-metre, 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre — was run twice to make up a total of six. The initial 1,500-metre race was the event opener and it’s Acorn’s bread-and-butter event. She scored 1,639 points from that, putting her in sixth place, her best result from the whole weekend.
She said the 1,500-metre is usually the kickoff distance and that’s to her advantage.
“Tactically, it’s my best distance and it’s a big confidence boost when you know how to race it,” she said. “There’s some pressure because I need points off the bat, but I trust that my body knows what to do. Getting a good result in that was definitely a boost.”
If there was one disappointing performance for Acorn, it was probably the first 1,000-metre contest. She ended up scoring just 338 points, her lowest of the weekend.
“It was my only bad race — I panicked a bit and got in trouble,” she said.
In the 500-metre races, Acorn made the B finals in both, and she said that’s about where she should be right now.
“I’m good with those results because it is my weakest event right now,” she said. “I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself going into those races — I just wanted to work on the things I’ve learned in practice and I’m happy with how everything turned out in that.”
The overall result wasn’t good enough to earn Acorn a spot on the senior national team, but she is back with the NextGen squad for her third and final season. Acorn’s hope is that this will be the season she begins to show those above her that she’ll be one to watch out for.
“I’m not quite punching up at the top-eight yet, but I’m no longer a junior, either,” she said. “I’m still developing as much as possible and I’m ready to get up there, be a threat and compete for a spot on the senior national team.”
The next big event for Acorn is happening in December in Montreal. Because she finished inside the top-15 overall, she’ll get to race in the Canadian Invitational Meet taking place that month and the hope is to have skaters from several countries make the trip in to compete. It’s also an important meet for Acorn because from that event, the Canadian short-track team for the World University Games in Montreal will be chosen.
Acorn had qualified for the team in 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland, but that was cancelled because of the Omicron outbreak.
“I’m really hoping to be able to re-make that team,” she said.