Team NWT’s female short track speed skaters finished fourth in their Canada Winter Games relay final on Friday.
The team raced alongside Alberta, New Brunswick and short track powerhouse Quebec, who won gold.
The NWT suffered an early fall in the race and the territory’s skaters were unable to catch third-placed Alberta.
The disqualification of Team Ontario in their semi-final had sent the NWT’s women into the final. Ahead of the race, coach Shane Clark told Moose FM racing in the final was “about as fantastic as it gets”.
“Coming into the Canada Games, the relay was on my radar and the girls performed the relay to perfection,” said Clark.
“I was at the Canada Games in Halifax (in 2011) and the building was bursting at the seams for the relay finals. It’s the one time when all the races are done and all the other team-mates can be there, cheering.”
The atmosphere was one of the biggest challenges for the teenage team on Friday.
“It’s definitely really scary,” said speed skater Kristin Chapman, a 15-year-old from Yellowknife, before the race. The team also included Lauren Eggenberger, Ali Fleming, Madison Pilling and Camille Rourke.
“Before every race I always want to scream, it’s so nerve-racking. Seeing everyone from Canada all coming together is real scary,” continued Chapman.
“The relay I was especially scared of because I knew it was a team event and if I messed up, it would be pressure on everyone else.
“We weren’t really expecting anything and somehow we made it through to the A final and got the NWT record. That was real cool.”
Chapman said the final would be ‘terrifying’, adding: “I haven’t thought about it yet because I know if I do, I will start overthinking.
“We’re just going to try to do our best, have a clean race and not get disqualified – not fall like what happened to other teams in the heats.”
Clark had proud words for the entire NWT team after a week of racing.
“Every skater has skated above and outside of themselves and that was the goal coming into the Games,” he said.
“Our skaters are probably giving one of the more solid performances of any contingent.”