Cassidy golden again; four juniors advance to finals

It was just a little more than 12 hours after taking gold in the Para Wheelchair 5000 metres and Joshua Cassidy was ascending to the top of the medal podium once again – this time in the the 1500 metres. The veteran won comfortably in a time of three minutes and 8.51 seconds as his margin of victory stretched to nearly six seconds. A significant change from the previous night half a second separated the same three medalists.

“I wanted to push the pace today. Yesterday it surprised me how close it was and in a longer race which is more my forte,” said Cassidy talking about his approach to today’s race compared to the 5,000m.”It’s getting used to the track. I made a tire change. Just paying attention to the other athletes and getting a feel for their strengths and weaknesses. Just try and make the best decision for your own tactics.”

With the 800 metres still to come, Cassidy isn’t saying much about his approach. “It’s another race all over. I’ll probably try something different.”

Shanna Boutilier also found her way to the medal podium with a bronze in the Para Ambulatory 200m. The 21 year old crossed the line in 30.70 seconds to finish just ahead of former Lion Larissa Brown. The bronze is Boutilier’s second medal of the championship after a silver at 400 metres.

This morning’s session was also busy with semi-final runs for both the U20 400 and 1500 metres. Each distance saw a pair of Lions qualify to Saturday finals led by Lauren Gale in the women’s 400 metres and Joe Fast in the men’s 1500 metres.

Fast was slow in his semi-final, but maintained his spot among the top four in his heat to automatically qualify for Saturday’s final with a time of 4:01.50. The Ridgemont High School student is two years younger than much of field, but he sees that as an advantage for him. “[My age] gives me confidence and takes the pressure off. I want a medal and I think it’s achievable”.

Nina Whitford will also run on Saturday, qualifying for the U20 women’s 1500 metre final. The University of Guelph student was fourth in her heat to secure on of the automatic spots, crossing the line in a personal best four minutes and 36.41 seconds.

At 400 metres, Lauren Gale and Helena Jovic book ended the list of qualifiers. Gale was the fastest this morning, taking her heat in 55.12 seconds, while Jovic qualified with a time of 57.17 seconds. Both ladies are fresh off the Pan Am U20 Championships last weekend in Costa Rica where Gale was part of a Canadian record setting 4×400 metre relay team. The Colorado State University runner says she has endured the longest season of her career, but remains focused on a gold in the final.