Matthew Markell strikes gold in Vancouver
VANCOUVER - On January 10, the Prescott community shared in a collective cheer, and more than a few happy tears, as 17-year-old Matthew Markell skated the performance of his life at Canadian Nationals in Vancouver, earning himself the gold medal in the Junior Men's division.
A score of 54.53, after Monday's short program, had him heading into Wednesday evening's free program in the fourth place position. Markell executed his routine in truly golden fashion, scoring a division-high of 126.88, placing him 7.18 points above the second-place skater in the program, and bringing his overall score to an impressive 181.41.
Markell's win comes on the heels of a frustrating and disappointing season, wrought with injuries and equipment issues the previous year. His first attempt at the National competition in the Junior Men's division saw him finish in 15th place. He had previously earned the silver medal in 2016 in the Novice Men's division.
"Last year at nationals, I was 15th and not even scoring over 135 points. I remember how I felt after that, just like it was yesterday. I felt like giving up, I was so upset with myself and I didn't think that skating was meant for me anymore. I wanted to quit and I wasn't happy at all. But I used that feeling later to push me to work harder everyday to make sure that I didn't have to feel that way again. Last year was my first year as a junior and I placed last at a few of my competitions and was consistently in the bottom half of the pack all year. This year, I've been climbing my way up the ladder slowly but surely. I've had a series of personal bests all year and was able to overcome so many new challenges along the way. After one of the hardest years of my life, I can proudly say that I am the national champion and everything that had to happen in order to reach that goal was 100% worth it," said Markell.
As always, Markell was quick to give credit and thanks to his hardworking and dedicated team consisting of Michael Coreno, Allie Hann and Dylan Harries, as well as to his family, friends and numerous supporters.
Prescott has celebrated alongside Markell throughout his skating career, holding events and fundraisers to contribute to the realization of his aspirations. For the community that has watched him grow, struggle and succeed, always remaining humble and being the first to support his competitors and teammates as well as other young skaters, medal or no medal - Markell continues to inspire and amaze.
"It's easy to say that this is one of the best moments in my life and I have so much pride and happiness for myself. I can't believe I can say that I am the 2018 Canadian Junior Men National Champion. This is a feeling that I will never forget," stated the elated Markell.