Saanich skaters headed to B.C. Games

Top cyclists will hit the ice at B.C. Winter Games in Penticton

Casey Garrison (left) and Riley Pickrell will be competing at the B.C. Winter Games Feb. 25 to 28 in Penticton.

It’s natural to be nervous before a race but for Riley Pickrell, it’s ironic.

Crouching at the starting line of a speed skating meet is enough to unnerve the 14-year-old, who is taking his powerful stride to the 2016 B.C. Winter Games Feb. 25-28 in Penticton.

And yet the Grade 9 Claremont secondary student is so calm before a bike race he might as well be meditating. At just 14, he’s the top U17 track cyclist in the country, as he finished first overall in the six-event omnium at the 2015 Canadian Track Cycling Championship.

“If I’m on my bike, I can see before a race that my heart rate is actually below my normal [resting] rate,” Pickrell said. “I hope to get there one day with skating too.”

Pickrell is one of two Saanich teens headed to the B.C. Winter Games for short-track speed skating. The other is Casey Garrison, 14, of Reynolds secondary. Both are members of the Peninsula Speed Skating Club and, like Pickrell, Garrison is also a successful cyclist. She won gold in the U15 omnium and sprint tournament at the 2015 B.C. Track Cycling Championships.

On the ice, however, Garrison is more polished as she’s been with the sport seven years. Pickrell, meanwhile, is something of a tiger in the process of being tamed.

“I just wanted to go fast, right from the start,” he said.

As a former Saanich Minor Hockey player, Pickrell enjoyed being the fastest on the ice but the chippy, physical play in hockey was getting “annoying.”

At 13 he tried speed skating but crashing proved to be a problem. He’s now getting to a point where he finishes most races, and picking up a medal at the BCWG isn’t an unrealistic goal, said speed skating coach Dave Garrison.

“Riley has a shot, he’s very strong but it’s only his second year of competing so we don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.

Casey is after personal best times at the BCWG and a chance to gain experience in a competitive environment, she said, adding a podium spot would be wonderful.

“Speed skating is very much a technique sport, so there is always new stuff to learn,” Casey said. “Even though I have been skating for seven years, I’m still learning new things.”

Despite the fact both are 14, Casey will compete at the U16 level (the speed skating age break is June 30) and Pickrell at the U14 level.


Casey will race in two 500-metre events, a 1,500m, 200m pursuit and a 3,000m points race. Pickrell will compete in a similar schedule, the 200m, 400m, 500m, 1,200m, 1,500m, 3,000m and a points race.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Area residents concerned about aftermath of McKenzie interchange construction

Ministry says neighbours’ concerns being heard, will be addressed

West Shore’s 10 worst intersections for crashes in 2019

Millstream Road, Veterans Memorial Parkway area continues to be a hotspot

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Kelly Ellard receives day parole extension allowing up to five days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Pitt Meadows woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Most Read