Jessica Frotten had the fury of Mother Nature to deal with over the weekend.
The Whitehorse wheelchair racer battled strong winds and rain while competing at the 2013 Saskatchewan Open Championships and Trials in Regina.
But the 25-year-old prevailed.
Frotton raced to four silver medals, with second-place finishes in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-metre races.
“That was brutal; those were the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in,” said Frotten. “The wind was just insane – it was almost like tornado wind … I guess no one did very good. It wasn’t just me.”
“It was pouring rain. I thought they were going to call the race,” she added. “That wind! I was just so crabby by the end of the day. I was in Lane 3, coming around in the 400, and the wind blew me to the outside lane! It was just insane. I thought I would flip my chair.”
Frotten placed second in the four distances, but was the top female in the field of three.
“We were all differently classed, but we were all grouped together in an open (class),” said Frotten.
Frotten took second behind Brayden Close in all four events, but beat Becky Richter in the 100-, 200-, and 400-metre events.
All three racers are from Saskatoon’s Cyclones Road and Track Club. Frotten trains there and with a club she helped found in Regina, which she now calls home.
“I still train with them because our Regina Racing Club is very small, so it helps to go up to Saskatoon to train with them every once and a while,” said Frotten.
All three “wheelies” are also slated to represent Saskatchewan at the Canada Summer Games this August in Sherbrooke, Que.
“I’m going for sure,” said Frotten. “I know the teams haven’t been announced, but the Saskatchewan wheelchair team has been formed and … the three of us who were racing are all going to the Canada Games.”
The Saskatchewan Open was Frotten’s second outdoor track meet. She won five gold medals at the 2013 Dogwood Track and Field Meet at the University of Victoria in May.
Frotten won gold in every race she entered, placing first in the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-metre events in the T53 racing division. It was there that she registered national times that qualify her to compete at the Canada Games.
With the wind and rain over the weekend, she was about six seconds slower in her 200 and nine seconds slower in the 400 than in Victoria.
“They’re times I’m just going to write-off,” she said.
Frotten moved to Regina for the First Steps Wellness Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries.
She became a paraplegic in a car accident on the Alaska Highway outside of Whitehorse in December 2009.
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