For the second year in a row, Carolina Hiller has booked a spot in the junior national short track speed skating championships.
Hiller, who represents the Prince George Blizzard, qualified for nationals while she was in Calgary this past weekend. Skating in the Canadian Open, she placed 27th overall in the junior division. The top 30 advanced to nationals, Jan. 17 to 19 in Montreal.
At the Canadian Open, Hiller competed against junior and senior athletes. She finished 27th in her 1,000-metre race, 39th in the 500m distance and 54th in her 1,500m event.
As a 15-year-old last season, Hiller got her first-ever taste of nationals. Most of the skaters were 17- to 19-year-olds but she still managed a handful of top-30 finishes.
A second member of the Blizzard, Madison Pilling, placed 34th overall in the junior category at the Canadian Open. Her best result was 44th in the 500m distance. Pilling also placed 45th in the 1,500m race and 50th in the 1,000m.
Pilling is from Fort Simpson, N.W.T., but trains with the Blizzard. She's currently battling through a knee injury.
A couple of regional athletes - Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James and Alison Desmarais of Vanderhoof - also gave strong performances at the Canadian Open and qualified for junior nationals.
MacDonald, who trains in Calgary as part of the Olympic Oval program, finished as the top-ranked junior skater at the Open, while Desmarais was 25th overall among the juniors. Desmarais splits her training time between the Nechako Clippers of Vanderhoof and the Blizzard.