Wren Acorn called the Canadian Junior Short Track Championships the best she’s ever skated.

The only problem is it didn’t translate into the final result she was looking for.

The 18-year-old Yellowknife speed skater will be on the outside looking in for the World Junior Short Track Championships in Poland this coming March after narrowly missing out on a spot late last month in Sherbrooke, Que. That’s where the Canadian Junior Short Track Championships took place and the top three in both the men’s and women’s divisions would earn a plane ticket across the Atlantic.

Acorn would finish fourth overall with a total of 12,800 points. Each of her races — 500-metre, 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre — had point totals attached to them with as many as 10,000 available for the winner of each one. The final standings were determined by taking the two best results of each skater and adding them together.

Acorn said it was a bittersweet time in the days following the meet.

“I had never been so dominant in any event before,” she said. “I was so consistent mentally, physically — this was my last shot at competing at the junior level and every one of the previous ones I’ve been at has been a benchmark for improvement.”

Acorn finished third in both the 1,500 and 1,000-metre events, each one worth 6,400 points. The only problem was her 500-metre race, where she ended up fifth for 4,096 points. The three skaters ahead of her all finished either first or second in the same races, giving them more points.

She said she could have sat back and picked apart each race to see where it all went wrong but she’s not one to cry over spilled milk.

“I don’t like to speculate,” she said. “There was a small opportunity in the 1,500-metre if I had skated a bit better but I’m not going to say I should have done this or that. I’m not going to do that to my teammates because we all skated so well. I had a fantastic weekend and not one of my races was bad. I just got out-skated in the 500-metre and I’ve never been a big sprinter so I knew that would be a tight one.”

As it stands, Acorn is the first alternate should either of the ladies on the team right now not be able to make the trip for any reason whatsoever but she said it’s a longshot at this point.

And if you thought the gut-punch of missing out on Poland was bad, Acorn will now not be going to Switzerland for the Winter Universiade, either. She received an e-mail earlier this week informing her that because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Switzerland has closed its borders and the event had been outright cancelled.

“I was preparing to go and then I got the notification,” she said. “No Universiade this year.”

With those plans scuttled, Acorn said the focus for her now is to re-focus on the remainder of the season with her teammates.

“We’re all spent after junior nationals,” she said. “It’s time to dial it in and go help my teammates do well because I want to see Team Canada perform. I want to do what I can to support them. I’m grateful for my teammates because the first day after nationals, there was no pity. Any one of them could’ve been in my position but there’s a lot of respect for each other and they’re great teammates both on and off the ice.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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