Frotten meets the challenge in Arizona

Whitehorse's Jessica Frotten picked up gold, silver and bronze in the Copper State over the weekend. The 27-year-old para wheelchair racer won four medals at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona.

Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten picked up gold, silver and bronze in the Copper State over the weekend.

The 27-year-old para wheelchair racer won four medals at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona.

“I’m happy with it,” said Frotten. “Last year at this meet I didn’t do very well and didn’t place. It’s nice to see that I did a lot better this year.”

“There was a gnarly storm there and conditions weren’t super hot. So no personal bests (other than in the 1,500) but I pushed well and I medalled.”

Frotten captured gold in the 200-metre, silver in the 100- and 400-metre, and bronze in the 800-metre in the T53 division.

She also claimed fifth in the 1,500-metre, in which the T53 and T54 classes were combined, but was third for her division.

Interestingly, the only event she didn’t win a medal in was the only one she set a personal best time in, finishing the 1,500 in 4:15.90.

“Funny story. I’m just getting into these 1,500s and I kind of miscounted my laps and thought I was done the 1,500 when I still had a whole other lap to go,” said Frotten. “When I realized the race wasn’t over, I did the fastest excel I’ve ever done in my life to get back into the race. I still managed to PB.”

The Desert Challenge Games marked the second meet in a row Frotten raked in hardware. She won five gold at the Dogwood Track and Field Meet in Victoria, B.C. the previous weekend.

In Victoria Frotten notched three personal best times and three qualifying times – in the 100, 400 and 800 – for the Pan Am and Parapan American Games this summer in Toronto. She had already reached the qualifying time in the 400 at Florida’s Daytona Snowbird Classic in March and then improved on it in Victoria. Canada’s Pan Am team will be named following the track nationals early July in Edmonton.

Frotten has also set four qualifying times for the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships this October in Qatar.

In Arizona, she took gold in the 200 with a time of 34.78, just 0.9 second ahead of Mexico’s Lucero Anahi Vazqu.

“It was a good race … It’s nice to come first,” said Frotten. “It’s nice to race people in my class too. There just aren’t many in Canada.

“It’s nice to see where I’m sitting with the rest of the world.”

“Friday night there was a crazy storm with thunder and lightning and floods, and it delayed all the races an hour,” she added. “We raced the 200 and for the 800 it started raining again and that was a really bad race for me. They had us sitting in the call room for an hour and by the time we got out there all my muscles were seized out.”

Frotten was putting new tires on her racer when the News reached her. She wants “fresh rubber” for her next set of events, in Switzerland.

Next week Frotten leaves to compete at an International Paralympic Committee Grand Prix in Nottwil followed by the Swiss Open Nationals and the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial in Arbon.

She’ll be hoping to get her 1,500 time under four minutes to register a fourth Pan Am qualifying time.

“Word on the street is it’s the fastest track in the world,” said Frotten. “So if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen there.”

“I really haven’t been training for it. So if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, I’m not going to lose any sleep about it.”

Last year at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial Frotten captured her first international event medal with a bronze in the 200-metre and raced the 100-metre in 19.19 seconds, putting her ninth in the IPC world rankings.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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