By: Jonathan Yue
It was an afternoon for the final straightaway on Day 2 of the NACAC Championships. With the men’s 800-metre featuring the duo of Canadian record holder Brandon McBride and 19-year-old Marco Arop, the crowd was brought to its feet as the pair made their way down the final 100-metres, crossing the finish line with gold and silver, respectively.
“At the end of the day, we do it for the country, inspire the young kids,” said McBride. “It’s been a while since Canada brought home a gold medal in the 800 metres at the international senior level so I think that was really special.”
Before the crowd could settle down, World record holder in the 100-metre hurdles, Kendra Harrison, continued to show how fast she can be, lowering the Championship and Stadium record that she set last night to 12.55 seconds.
Athletes continued to bring the heat to the track with Canadian Champion Crystal Emmanuel bringing Varsity Stadium to its feet.
After already running in the 200-metre qualifiers on Day 1, and the 100-metre semi-final earlier this afternoon, Emmanuel ran a personal best of 11.11 seconds to earn the bronze medal, celebrating with the Canadian fans, as the final announcement of her third-place finish flashed onto the board.
“I try to go into every race with the determination of coming out on top and today was the day I came up with the bronze,” Emmanuel said.
USA’s Jenna Prandini finished with the gold medal, with a time of 10.96 seconds, setting a new Championship and Stadium record.
Aiyanna Stiverne raced a gutsy 400-metre final to take the silver medal. The crowd rose to its feet and screamed as Stiverne came down the main straightaway crossing the finish line in 52 seconds even.
Adam Keenan continued Canada’s strong showing in field events winning bronze in the men’s hammer throw with a performance of 72.72-metres.
Hometown boy Justyn Knight had the crowd on his side during the men’s 5000-metre final, the wave of energy helped propel him to a bronze medal finish, his first international medal for Canada.
It’s been years since Knight raced in a competition in Toronto at any level, he was determined to feed off the crowd’s support.
“My body was aching, I didn’t know if I was going to get dropped or not, but the crowd was supporting me all the way,” said Knight. “I said [coming down the final stretch] I can’t let USA 1-2-3 in my country.”
Rachel Cliff rounded off the night on the track with a bronze medal in the women’s 10,000-metre final, running a strong race that saw her set the pace ahead of the American runners.
The last event to come to completion on Day 2 was the men’s high jump where Michael Mason and Django Lovett finished in the silver and bronze medal positions, respectively.
“I wanted the 31, but I think I competed well and I’m happy with my clearances,” said Mason. “Things are really coming together and I’m going in the right direction.”
Day 3 of the NACAC Championships continue tomorrow with more finals on the schedule, including the men’s long jump, men’s pole vault, men’s and women’s 200-metres, men’s and women’s 1500-metres and the 4x100 and 4x400-metre relays.