Canadian Track TrialsGuelph’s Andrea Seccafien secures trip to Olympics

EDMONTON — Andrea Seccafien of Guelph claimed her spot on the Canadian Olympic team by winning the women’s 5,000 metres Thursday night at the Canadian Track and Field Championships and Rio Trials at Foote Field.

“I think that whole race I was pretty stressed out,” Seccafien said in an interview minutes after the race. “Championship racing you kind of have to get used to it and I’m just not yet because my races are very different during the season. I’m relieved, to be honest, because coming top two you don’t really have a ton of room for error.”

After sitting fourth for the first half of the race, Seccafien moved ahead and took the lead with two laps to go in the 12 1/2-lap race.

Seccafien went into the race knowing she had to finish in the top two to secure a berth on the Olympic team after she recorded a time under the qualifying standard in winning the women’s 5,000m at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic at Los Angeles late in May in a race that played out the same as Thursday’s race.

“I knew I had all the skills to win any kind of race,” Seccafien said of the national championship race. “If it was fast, I’ve run the fastest time in Canada and if it was slow, I’ve also run 4:10 in the 1,500 so I kind of knew I had a good kick and I was also really fit. Having that race was a huge confidence boost coming into this.”

Seccafien, who lives in Toronto and competes for Saucony and the University of Toronto Track Club, won the national final with a time of 16 minutes, 0.42 seconds. She sprinted the final 200 metres and held off UTTC clubmate Sasha Gollish who finished second in 16:00.65. Jessica O’Connell of Calgary was third in 16:00.90 and University of Guelph graduate Rachel Cliff, who led the majority of the race, was fourth in 16:10.978.

Josh Cassidy of Guelph finished as the silver medalist in the men’s para T54 800 metres Thursday at the meet. Cassidy finished second in a time of one minute, 43.83 seconds while Alexandre Dupont of Saint-Laurent, Que., won in 1:40.61.

University of Guelph grad Jason Dunkerley was third in the men’s para 5,000m as he and guide Josh Karanja of Ottawa finished in 17:03.59. Guillaume Ouellet of Victoriaville, Que., won in 15:05.34.

Barry Britt of the Speed River New Balance team was sixth in the men’s 5,000m. He was clocked in 14:14.68 while Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines won in 14:00.93. Hussein Hashi of the Speed River club was 15th in 14:53.31.

The four-day championship meet continues through Sunday.

  • Guelph Sports Journal