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Hempsall lets his blades do the talking

It was cold and windy over the weekend in Saskatoon. But no matter how hard that frigid prairie breeze blew, it couldn't take the lightning out of Tim Hempsall's blades at the the junior national long track speed skating championships.

It was cold and windy over the weekend in Saskatoon.

But no matter how hard that frigid prairie breeze blew, it couldn't take the lightning out of Tim Hempsall's blades at the the junior national long track speed skating championships.

"It was super-cold, hovering between minus-20C and minus-30C, just brutal, but we soldiered on and it went really well," said Hempsall, the 17-year-old Prince George Blizzard Speed Skating Club member, who placed 13th overall out of 51 skaters in the three-day event.

"I've got two more years (at the junior level) and I'm pretty happy with that. My best race was the 3,000 on Friday. It was just a good race for me."

Two former Blizzard skaters who now train at the Olympic Oval club in Calgary also posted impressive results on the outdoor oval in Saskatoon.

Sarah Pousette, 18, was 11th overall out of 42 in the junior women's event, and 18-year-old Phillip Shrimpton was 22nd. Pousette finished ninth in the 1,500m and 3,000 events and 18th in the 500m and 1,000m events.

Hempsall will travel to the climate-controlled indoor oval at Salt Lake City for the North American championships in two weeks. He's still a short-track specialist but Hempsall will take whatever races he can find.

"There aren't many events in short track right now so I'll do long track to stay in shape," he said.

Next on the hit list after Salt Lake City for Hempsall are the Canadian age-group short track national championships in Dawson Creek, slated for March.

Pousette will be a forerunner at the Olympic long track competition at the Richmond Oval.