Local speed skating athlete Daniel Pauli, of Warman, has really progressed in his fifth year of sport and this year he has been at the top of his game.
Pauli finished third overall, at the 2018 Canadian Age Class Long Track Championships in the train-to-train (T2T) 14 male age group.
It was quite the feat to compete at that event because Pauli said only the top two athletes from Saskatchewan in each respective age division qualified for nationals.
Pauli mentioned the competition level is a lot different than he’s used to, which helped push him to his limit.
“It’s just completely different racing against them and they have different strategies and tactics than we do. It’s a whole new experience and you really have to be able to adapt to it,” he said.
What he learned from his experience at nationals was to skate more aggressively because not only are the skaters fast they’re big too.
“If you’re not aggressive, you’ll just get pushed out of the way and into the back. So you have to be able to stay aggressive but not to the point where you’re getting yourself disqualified,” Pauli said.
At that competition, he earned gold in 3000-metre race and bronze in both the 1500 and 300-metre events.
Pauli also compete at the Canada West Short Track Championships for the third consecutive year. He had high expectations going into the event, which was held in Abbotsford B.C.
“I hoped to come second overall at least, that’s what I’ve done the two years prior,” he said.
This year he placed 5th overall, which is still pretty good by he knew he could’ve done better. The only medal he took home from that event was a silver in the 3000-metre race
“This year, I just had a few bad races and the one race I got disqualified in. I came second (in that race) and then I was disqualified so I ended up getting sixth. And then in the sprints, I just had some bad luck. I was feeling a little rushed and so I wasn’t quite myself, didn’t race as good as I usually do,” Pauli said.
Pauli was a participant in the 2018 Saskatchewan Winter Games, representing Team Prairie Central, and he performed really well at the event. He earned gold in the 200, 400 and 800 metre events. He also took home silver in the 3000 metre race an the team relay event.
In the other meets throughout the season, Pauli excelled in both the long track and short track events.
Pauli is just 15 years old, but he still has some hefty goals he wants to accomplish and next season he has his eyes set on the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
How qualifying works is in two respective meets in the fall, they will take his points and that will determine if he made the cut for the event.
“Qualifying will be tough because five people get to go for short track, four people will get to go for long track so that’s nine people total with both the disciplines. That’s going to be very tough, especially because I’m on the younger side of the age group,” said Pauli
The age group is 15 to 19, so Pauli knows it will be tough to make the cut for the Canada Winter Games, but he’s up for the challenge.
He doesn’t want to stop there. If he puts in the work and continues with his training, he hopes to accomplish goals like representing Canada a world junior championship event.
Overall, Pauli said this is the most medals he’s won in a single season and its just a reassurance that he can compete at a high level and go far in the sport.