It’s a difficult task to compete with the top athletes in the country at their chosen field, especially when they are three years your elder.
That however is exactly what Wren Acorn, 15, did last weekend at the Canadian Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Acorn competed in the Under-19 category for the second year and improved upon her results from 2017 where she was the fastest 14 year-old at the competition.
“I was really excited because I made it into the upper bracket for two distance in the 500 meter and the 1000 meter. Where as, last year I didn’t make any top brackets, I made a couple of high finishes in the lower bracket but I didn’t make that jump so that was really, really good,” said Acorn.
Just making the competition was a feat in itself for Acorn as she was one of only five girls from west of Ontario to qualify for the event, meaning she was one of the top 32 junior speed skaters in the country. To prepare the event Wren travelled to Calgary two weeks prior to the event in order to train with top athletes.
“I do go down and do drop-in at the Olympic Oval with their Elite Athlete Pathway Program and so I’m in stage two there and for the two weeks leading up to this competition I was training with their older group stage three and that was great, the coaches are really, really knowledgeable,” said Acorn.
Acorn said throughout the year she travels back and forth between Yellowknife and Calgary in order to train and compete at the highest level while her coaches at the Oval program and back home in Yellowknife work closely together.
The event served as the trial to travel to the World Junior Championships with the top four athletes of each gender making the cut. While Wren didn’t make that cut she said she will come away from the competition as a better skater and prepare for next year’s qualifiers.
“I was really grateful to be there and honestly just skating out against the best people in Canada is only going to make you better and make you a better racer because at a certain point everyone is fast and its just the smartest people that go ahead because in short track its all about tactics and passing and blocking,” said Acorn.
Since Acorn is still young for her category, she will have three more years at the competition, meaning three more cracks at making the national junior team and if she stays on the path she is currently on there is a good chance she could do just that. Acorn said she hopes to compete again next year and improve on previous performances before really pushing to make the team in her final two years.
“Three more years as a junior so in the years coming, maybe not next year but definitely when I’m 17 and 18 I will be looking to really be up there at the top and hopefully make world cup that would be nice,” said Acorn.