After reaching the Canada Games relay final last month, the Northwest Territories’ speed skaters were back on Yellowknife ice on the weekend.
The five Team NWT girls, who almost grabbed an unprecedented relay medal in Prince George a week earlier, were taking part in their territorial championships.
Communities ranging from Cambridge Bay and Inuvik to Fort Simpson and Hay River were represented.
For the next generation of speed skaters, the chance to race alongside the Canada Games team is inspiring them to go one better and reach the podium at the next edition, in 2019.
Wren Acorn, 11 years old, won her age group at territorials on Sunday.
Wren has recently been promoted to the same training group as the Canada Games skaters.
“I get to train alongside those girls and they work their butts off to get where they are. It’s quite an inspiration,” Wren told Moose FM.
“Watching them at the Canada Games was pretty cool. It was amazing to see how they compared to the rest of Canada and they did absolutely great down there.”
The step up means a leap in intensity – for example, going from five-lap warm-ups to 24 laps.
Wren says she is taking that in stride as she moves toward her ultimate goal in the sport.
“The Olympics. I’ve been looking forward to going to the Olympics for a long time,” she says, adding she also draws inspiration from former neighbour – and Canadian short track Olympian – Michael Gilday.
“It’s been a life goal of mine.”
Wren and team-mates now head to the Canada West Championships in Manitoba later this month.