In her first outdoor meet of the season, Jessica Frotten has qualified for the nationals.
The Whitehorse para wheelchair racer set personal best times across the board at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona, on Sunday.
“This was by far the biggest track meet I’ve ever been to,” said the 26-year-old. “There were people from all over the world … It was such a cool vibe to be in and it was a fast track too.”
Frotten punched the ticket for the Canadian Track and Field Championships this June in Moncton, N.B., with her time in the 400-metre in Mesa.
Frotten placed fourth in the women’s 400-metre with a time of 1:11.16, less than a second behind third.
She also placed fourth in the 200-metre in 34.50, less than a second behind the silver medalist.
Frotten sped to fifth in the women’s 100-metre sprint at 19.73, just 0.21 behind the bronze medal winner.
All are personal best times, but her times in the 100 and 200 won’t count towards qualifying for nationals because of illegal winds.
Still, it’s a pretty good way to open just her second outdoor season racing.
“I went to a big training camp in Daytona Beach (Florida) and they just whipped me in to shape,” said Frotten.
Frotten finished the 200-metre with a bang … literally. Her front tire exploded with a loud pop as she crossed the finish line.
“They are filled up to like 130 psi,” said Frotten. “I almost ran into a crowd of people and a seeing eye dog. When I was trying to get that fixed I was randomly selected for a drug test. It was all these things all at once.”
Frotten is currently in Switzerland preparing for two events in the Swiss Racing Series this weekend. It is her biggest event leading up to nationals and her first races outside North America.
“I’m going to get the 100 and 200 (national qualifying times) in Switzerland – hopefully,” said Frotten.
Sunday’s races marked Frotten’s first outdoor event since winning three bronze medals at the Canada Summer Games last August in Sherbrooke, Que. Frotten competed for Team Saskatchewan, 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.
She snagged a second and third place finishes at a pair of indoor meets in Saskatoon during this past winter.
Frotten snagged two gold at the 2013 Canada Summer Games Western Challenge and captured three silver at the Canada Summer Games Trials, Senior and Master Provincial Championships last July.
She also finished as the top female in four races at the 2013 Saskatchewan Open Championships and Trials in Regina, last June.
Frotten won five gold at her first outdoor meet, the Dogwood Track and Field Meet in Victoria, B.C., a year ago.
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