There are some students at BMHS who excel at different things; this can be within their studies, employment, and sports. Courtney Sarault is a 17-year-old student at Bernice MacNaughton who has brought her excellence in sports to a national level, competing for Team Canada in Innsbruck, Austria.
Courtney was born on April 24th 2000, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has also previously lived in Switzerland and Germany. Her family has always been very active in sports, as her brother played hockey and father also played on a professional level; therefore, she began skating at a very young age due to this influence.
Short track speed skating is the sport that Courtney competes in at an international level. This sport is played on a track, made of ice, that is 60×30 meters. Skaters compete by skating against opponents, with the goal to finish first in the race.
When looking back on to how she got into speed skating, she said, “My family’s always been pretty active, and I’d always watch speed skating when the Olympics were on [television]. I always liked watching it because it wasn’t super big. One day when I was going to see my brother play hockey, I saw a sign at the rink about the speed skating club in Dieppe.” This was at the age of seven when Courtney saw this sign, and ever since has been hooked on the sport.
Courtney has been representing New Brunswick at a national level in speed skating since the age of 14, when she traveled to Prince George to compete in the Canada Games. She was able to prove her excellence at this sport by getting the opportunity to skate at an international level; she won her position for Canada’s National Junior Team, placing 3rd in the race, thus guaranteeing her to skate in Austria at the World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Although she was ecstatic to represent Canada’s junior team overseas, she also felt that some of her competitors deserved a spot on the team.
Sarault came into the tournament the third person out of the four girl unit to skate (only the top three would skate in Innsbruck). She had a rough start to the tournament, stating, “My first race I got taken out because I wasn’t really racing that smart. I wasn’t in the right spot at the right time, so when the girl fell, she took me with her, so I never made it through. My second race I had a really hard race, too [in regards to competition level], when it was supposed to be one of the easier ones. I was racing against South Korea and Russia, and I slipped out in that race, too. “
Although Courtney didn’t get to finish her first two races, she finished neck and neck with the other racers in the quarterfinals, just missing the semifinals by milliseconds. Reflecting back on that race, Courtney says that, “It was a really good experience, and [the race] made me want to go back to prove myself.”
Speed skating teammate Abby Jackson, a grade eleven student at Bernice MacNaughton, says about Sarault that, “When she leaves for Montreal, she’s sacrificing so much: school, friends, and family; but she’s getting the best experience she could possibly get when she trains with the CRCE team and the national team. Because of all the sacrifices she’s made this year, she gained an unimaginable trip to Austria, competing with the best juniors in the world, and making New Brunswick history.” Anna Dodge agrees with Abby’s comments, stating, “When she was asked to go to Montreal for training, she dropped everything for a chance at becoming the best skater she could be. I think once Courtney sets her mind on a goal, nothing can get in her way of achieving it.”
Just at the young age of 16, Courtney has already competed for Team Canada’s Junior Women’s Team, and was able to race in the quarterfinals in Innsbruck, Austria. She plans to attend Concordia University in Montreal, so she can further her speed skating journey by training with the national women’s team; she hopes to make the top 13 and represent Canada at the next Winter Olympics, which will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The future for this young athlete who currently attends Bernice MacNaughton looks very bright!