Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten was back on track, literally and figuratively, over the weekend.
After spending some time away from training, the 25-year-old wheelchair track racer still managed to snag two gold medals at the 2013 Canada Summer Games Western Challenge at the Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary, Alta., over the weekend.
For the golds, Frotten beat two Team Alberta racers who are also heading to the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., in a little over a week.
“It’s looking good. Those girls are going to be at the Canada Games too,” said Frotten. “It was fun. I kind of didn’t expect that because I hadn’t been training too much. I was home in Whitehorse for a wedding, so I hardly got out at all.”
Frotten won gold in 200-metre and the 1,500-metre at the meet. She finished the 200-metre at 41.77 seconds, almost a full nine seconds ahead of Alberta’s Jessica Helm in second.
She logged a time of five minutes and 43 seconds in the 1,500-metre and was the only racer to break the seven-minute mark.
Racing in Calgary was a welcome change from her previous meets that were marked by high winds and torrential downpours.
“I’m feeling really good about (the races),” said Frotten. “It’s really nice to not have to race in the rain or the wind. It was supposed to storm and it didn’t - it was just beautiful conditions. It was nice, my family came out and cheered me on.”
Frotten also raced in the 400-metre in Calgary, but was disqualified for leaving her lane “for a second.” Had she officially finished, it would have been her only personal best time of the meet and would have been a third gold. Her qualifying time of 1:20.24 was 17 seconds faster than the winning time.
“If I didn’t get disqualified, it would have been a new personal best by four seconds ... maybe five seconds,” said Frotten. “It was sad. I went up there to get a medal and they were like, ‘You don’t get a medal.’ But it was nice, I got to give the medal to the girl that came (first) and it was the first gold medal she had ever won.”
Frotten will represent Saskatchewan in the second week of the Canada Games, having 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.
In Sherbrooke she will race in the same events as over the weekend.
“I’m getting so excited for it,” said Frotten. “I got all my team swag and I’m pumped.”
Frotten captured three silver at the Canada Summer Games Trials, Senior and Master Provincial Championships in Saskatoon, Sask., early this month.
She also competed at the 2013 Saskatchewan Open Championships and Trials in Regina last month, finishing as the top female in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-metre races.
Frotten qualified for the Canada Games at her first outdoor meet, the 2013 Dogwood Track and Field Meet at the University of Victoria in May, in which she won five gold medals.
Though a lot of athletes see the Canada Games as the highest level of competition they will achieve, for Frotten, the Games are just the start.
“This is just the beginning for me,” said Frotten. “This is going to be my first really big meet, but I want to go to worlds and I want to go to the Olympics, and I think I have a good shot too.”
Frotten became paraplegic in a car accident on the Alaska Highway outside of Whitehorse in December 2009.
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