Sth Canty skaters dominate

Last updated 05:00 02/01/2014

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South Canterbury continued to dominate the New Zealand Speed Skating Championships held in Auckland over New Year.

After the second day the South Canterbury team had won more than the rest of the New Zealand clubs combined, with 21 of the 40 titles.

In the quest to retain the Unity Trophy for the third time, South Canterbury have built up an imposing lead with 102 points, while the nearest challengers Hamilton and Wanganui are on 35, with the Auckland home team on 24 points.

International stars Peter Michael and Nicole Begg won the open 20,000m races.

Begg was left with five Wanganui skaters, but was not seriously challenged, her nearest challenger Rebecca van Bentum slipped over 250 metres from home.

"Nicole is returning to top form has won the 200, 500 and 1000 metres in convincing fashion," coach Bill Begg said.

Winning all races in their respective grades were Tasha McAuley who cleaned up in the primary girls grade, Keaton Swindells won all of the races in the juvenile boys, Tyla Smith in the junior girls and Guy McDonald in the intermediate men, along with Nicole Begg in the senior and open women.

Jan Kuepper was the strongest contender from Timaru in the junior boys, but failed to take the title from Aucklander Zachery Biggs. South Canterbury skaters Kuepper, Nick Frame and Finley O'Connor all took minor placings.

Leah McDonald placed second in the 200m and Jazmyn McAuley was second in the 500m.

Kaylum McAuley placed in all his races, with Keaton Swindells winning. In the girls Ella Benson won the 200 time trial and the 500 metres. Charlotte Clarke was third in the 2000m.

In the intermediate women, Judah Kelly won gold and Dahna Penty won silver in the 200m. Cassidy Olfield won a bronze in the 500 metres.

"Guy McDonald has been outstanding in the intermediate men's and surprised everyone. Visiting Timaru-based German skater Alex Emele has proved more than a handful, winning races but foreign competitors can not claim the titles, the same with Chinese skater Qi Miao in the juvenile girls," Begg said.

Nicole Begg won 11 of the 14 sprints except three which her South Canterbury team- mates won. Analiese Le Roy placed third behind Begg and van Bentum.

"The junior girls 5000m was a trifecta for South Canterbury, with Tyla Smith from Temuka maintaining her unbeaten record. Monique Cleeve of Wanganui contested the early sprints against Smith and paid the price when Jazmyn McAuley first hauled the break back, then midway through Leah McDonald joined the front group, with South Canterbury taking all three podiums with Smith, McAuley second and McDonald third," Begg said.

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