03 JUL 2010 General News Moncton, Canada

Hometown hero Lalonde takes first gold as Canadian junior champs commence in Moncton


Genevieve Lalonde en route to the Canadian junior title in the 2000m steeplechase (Claus Andersen)Genevieve Lalonde en route to the Canadian junior title in the 2000m steeplechase (Claus Andersen) © Copyright
On the opening night (2) of the 2010 Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships and World Junior Trials Moncton’s own Genevieve Lalonde won the first gold medal and earned a place on the Canadian team for the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships, July 19-25, in Moncton, Canada.

Leading from the start in the women’s 2000m Steeplechase final Lalonde simply ran away with the race.

Lalonde is the only athlete to have met the qualifying standard for the World junior 3000m steeplechase and proved the class of the field. Earlier in the day she also turned in the fastest time in the 1500m heats which she says helped settle her nerves.

“Definitely the steeplechase was a fun event that I wanted to try this year,” she revealed. “It doesn’t have priority over the 1500m. They are both really fun events. I will probably have two other good girls to run against in the 1500 pack. It’s an event in which anything can happen."
 
“Definitely the 1500m calmed me down," Lalonde continued. "It got all the stresses out and I was, ‘ok I am good to go. Now let’s move on to the next race.’ I will go back now with (coach) Joel (Bourgeois) and talk about how it went and then move on to tomorrow (1500m final).”
 
Lalonde’s time of 6:37.41 was a new personal best.
 
Ariel Beauregard-Breton of Montreal Olympique took the silver medal with a time of 6:54.00 while Kate Kujawa earned the bronze in 6:55.62.
 
Mattias Wolter, the defending Canadian junior champion from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, who is coached by Tanya Daniels, went to the front in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase in an effort to intimidate the field. For two kilometres the pack stayed within five metres despite his efforts but they could not close.
 
Wolter’s winning time of 9:00.48 was also good enough to qualify for the World Junior Championships.
 
“The first half was pretty good and practice has been going pretty good so I thought I could hold that pace,” said the winner.  “I just couldn’t push myself the middle of the race. I think the pace slowed down.  I knew the guys were close behind me, I could hear their feet.”
 
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Cassidy closed in the final 300 metres to claim the silver medal in 9:02.27 which is also under the World juniors standard. Disappointed with the bronze medal was Daryl Smith. The Tecumseh, Ontario, native had met the qualifying time but, because he didn’t finish in the top two, will not run again in Moncton later this month.
 
Qualifying in other events took place throughout the day with some exciting performances. Alistair Moona of G Force Track Club in Mississauga turned in one of the more memorable races of the day winning the 5th of five men's 400m heats with a time of 47.60.
 
It was clear halfway through the race that he was in a class of his own. The Jamaican-born runner exploded from the blocks wearing a pair of black fingerless cycling gloves and had made up the stagger on the field by the final turn.   Earlier this season he ran 46.94 to win the Ontario high school championships. Not only was his performance there a new championship record, it was also a full second under the IAAF World junior qualifying standard.

"I was running just to qualify," he said. "I have run 46.94 but a week after that race I ran 46.1 hand timed in London. I can go faster."
 
Moona's G Force Track Club teammate, Tremaine Harris, won the 4th heat in 48.34 the second fastest time of the day.

All three runners with the 1500m world championship standard (3:48.00) easily qualified for Saturday’s final. Only two will represent Canada at the World juniors.
 
Jeremy Rae who attends the University of Notre Dame, controlled the pace in the first of two heats and won the race in a slow time of 4:02.88. A week ago the Niagara Falls, Ontario athlete ran a personal best time of 3:42. 86 in London, Ontario.
 
The second heat was marginally quicker with Jean Samuel Lapointe winning in 3:59.12 from John Paul Mallette of the Windsor Legion Track Club. Mallette’s personal best time of 3:46.66 earlier in the summer gives him a chance to represent Canada at the University of Moncton track in three weeks. In third place was Robert Denault who set a Canadian youth record of 3:45.87 behind Rae in that London race. The top two in Saturday’s final with the standard will represent the country.
 
It was a similar situation in the women’s 1500m heats. Three Canadian athletes have met the world championship standard of 4:28.00 and all three advanced to Saturday’s final. Running in the second of two heats it was Lalonde who had the fastest time of the lot with 4:33.71 while Justine Johnson ran 4:33.85 behind her.
 
Jessica Parry who has the fastest time of the year finished 2nd in the first heat behind Elizabeth Whelan. The final shall be one of the highlights of Saturday’s program.
 
Paul Gains for the IAAF

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