Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten has a lot of pride in the Yukon. It would seem the feeling is mutual.
Bolstered by a characteristically loud cheering section of Yukoners, Frotten was faster than ever and won five gold medals at the Dogwood Track and Field Meet at the University of Victoria over the weekend.
“I’m feeling awesome. I had a big training camp in Daytona and it really got me into shape,” said Frotten. “I had this kick-ass cheering section that was off the hook. Lots of Yukoners, lots of Yukon flags, and pompoms of course.
“They were the loudest. They made up 80 per cent of the crowd. I had great weekend out here racing.”
Sporting a new tattoo of fireweed – the floral emblem of Yukon – on her left arm, Frotten won gold in the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-metre events in the T53 para wheelchair racing division. She did the same thing in 2013.
The 27-year-old also set personal best times and qualifying times for the Pan Am and Parapan American Games this summer in Toronto.
Frotten achieved three Pan Am qualifying times in Victoria. She completed the 100-metre in 19.20, the 400-metre with a personal best time of 1:04.75 and the 800-metre in 2:14.44 for another personal best.
She also raced the 200-metre in 34.66, just 0.40 off her personal best, but notched a PB in the 1,500-metre at 4:17.52. “I was trying to go sub-four minutes, which is pretty much ludicrous speed,” said Frotten. “I didn’t quite make the standard time for the Pan Ams.”
“(Canada’s Pan Am) team doesn’t get named until after nationals, but if I keep putting times like that down, I’m in a pretty good place,” she added. “I have a good chance at making the team if I keep making the standard.
“The IPC (International Paralympic Committee) worlds are this October, so I’m trying to make those standards as well.”
To give an idea of how fast Frotten is getting, one only has to look at her times from the 2014 Canadian Track and Field Championships last June. Frotten was almost seven seconds faster in her 800-metre in Victoria than at nationals where she gold in the event. She was more than three seconds faster in the 400 – an event she won silver in at nationals last year.
Frotten had already achieved a Pan Am qualifying time this season before getting to the Dogwood meet. She raced the 400 in 1:07.37 at the Daytona Snowbird Classic in Florida this past March and then improved on that in Victoria.
“I think I’m in a pretty good spot. It’s early in the season and I’m already laying down some pretty awesome personal bests,” said Frotten.
Frotten, who races for the Saskatoon Cyclones, has a busy few weeks coming up this month. She is off to Arizona this weekend for the Desert Challenge Games and, after a week at home in Regina, will return to the Swiss Open Nationals and the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial in Switzerland.
Last year in Switzerland 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.
“It’s tough being away from the Yukon. That’s where my heart is,” said Frotten. “I’m in Regina and I’m working with the First Steps Wellness Centre – I’m a community wellness advocate. So I get people out and active.
“I’m contracted with Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports as well … And I train with the team in Saskatoon.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org