The 2016 National Track League (NTL) makes its final stop before breaking for the Canadian Championships this Saturday, June 25 with the New Balance Speed River Inferno. The Inferno also hosts the 2016 Canadian 10,000-metres Championships.
“We are absolutely thrilled to host the Canadian 10,000-metres Championships as part of this year's Speed River New Balance Inferno,” said Chris Moulton, Meet Director. “We have two very different races that will be quite exciting to cap an awesome night of track and field. The men's race has a very large field and is led by local favourite Eric Gillis. A large number of men could challenge him for the title including Evan Esselink, Kevin Tree, Aaron Hendrikx, Geoff Martinson and Barry Britt. An interesting sub plot will be the battle for World Junior spots between Sergio Raez-Villanueva, Ehab El-Sandali and Cameron Linscott.
Moutlon adds, “On the women's side it is great to have three of Canada's top female distance runners in Natasha Wodak, Rachel Hannah and Tarah Korir racing. Adding intrigue to the women's race will be international athletes Mary Davies (New Zealand) and Tara Jameson (Ireland). Both are hoping to get Olympic Standard, which is 32:15. With Natasha being the only athlete in the field with standard this is likely a last chance effort for them."
For those who can’t attend the event, the meet will be live on AthleticsCanada.tv starting at 7 p.m. ET. Bob Akamian will call the action from Guelph along with soon to be Athletics Canada Hall of Fame inductee Perdita Felicien. Perdita will also be an analyst for CBC during the Olympic Games in Rio.
Last year’s World Championship silver medallist and recent Gotzis decathlon champion, Damian Warner of London, Ont., will contest the 110-metre hurdles. Warner holds the fastest 100-metre (10.15) and 110-metre hurdle (13.44) times ever run by a decathlete. Looking to challenge Warner will be 2015 World Championships teammate Sekou Kaba of Ottawa, Ont., and US Olympian, David Payne.
As Meet Director Chris Moulton outlined, the Canadian women’s 10,000m Championship features a talented field. Natasha Wodak of Vancouver, B.C., is the Canadian record holder in the event and represented Canada last summer at both the Pan Am Game and IAAF World Championships. Looking to challenge Wodak will be 2016 Canadian Half Marathon champion, Emily Setlack of Cold Lake, Alta., and Tarah Korir of St. Clement, Ont., who represented Canada at this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
With twenty-nine men entered, the men’s Canadian 10,000m Championship will surely provide drama and intrigue over the 25 lap competition. Two-time Olympian Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., has the Rio qualifying standard in the marathon and will step down in distance to take a shot at this national title. Looking to provide Gillis a challenge will be: Geoff Martinson of Vancouver, B.C., Kevin Tree of Tottenham, Ont., Evan Esselink of Courtice, Ont. and Aaron Hendrikx of Parkhill, Ont.
The women’s 200-metres features a pair of Canadian Olympians. Kim Hyacinthe of Lachenaie, Que., has represented Canada at the last three World Championships and looks to sharpen up as the championship portion of the season draws near. Farah Jacques of Quebec City, Que., has flirted with the Olympic standard and was only .01 off earlier this year. In 2016, she’s the second ranked Canadian woman at 200-metres.
The women’s Para-Ambulatory 200-metre dash will feature a number of athletes who have represented Canada in international competition, including Shaunelle Gregory of Brantford, Ont., Virginia McLachlan of Windsor, Ont., Marissa Papaconstantinou of Toronto, Ont., Leah Robinson of Kitchener, Ont., and Madison Wilson-Walker of Dorchester, Ont.
The women’s 800-metres is headlined by Canadian 1500-metre standouts Nicole Sifuentes of Winnipeg, Man., and Gabriela Stafford of Toronto, Ont. Along with American Amanda Eccleston, the duo should face a strong challenge from Canadian 800-metre specialists Rachel Aubrey of Ottawa, Ont.; Karine Belleau-Beliveau of Montreal, Que., and Jenna Westaway of Calgary, Alta.
In the men’s 800-metres, a collection of top young Canadians should provide a show. Anthony Romaniw of Hamilton, Ont., recently won the Harry Jerome Classic and has achieved the Olympic qualifying standard. He currently ranks Canada’s second fastest 800-metres runner of 2016. Ready to challenge Romaniw will be: 2016 NCAA finalist/Canadian junior record holder Robert Heppenstall of Hamilton, Ont., Toronto’s CIS standout Sasha Smart and University of Windsor’s Alex Ullman and Corey Bellemore.
2012 Olympian and 2013 IAAF World Championship finalist, Canadian Alex Genest of Lac-aux-Sables, Que., headlines the 3000-metre steeplechase. After a recent injury, Genest will look to test his fitness ahead of the upcoming Canadian Championships. Genest will be joined by his Speed River teammates, Taylor Milne of Callander, Ont., and Chris Dulhanty of Mississauga, Ont. Dulhanty broke through with a near Olympic qualifier earlier this spring. After the distance double at this year’s CIS Championships, Antoine Thibeault of Saint-Gérard-des-Laurentides, Que., looks to dip under the Olympic qualifying standard, too.
The women’s 400-metre hurdles features two of the three Canadian women who achieved the Olympic qualifying standard. Sage Watson of Medicine Hat, Alba., recently finished 3rd at the NCAA Championships and won the Harry Jerome Classic 400-metres. 2012 Olympian and 2015 Pan Am Games silver medallist Sarah Wells of Unionville, Ont., is coming back from injury and hopes to throw down a good time. Noelle Montcalm of Belle River, Ont., Jen Cotten of Barrie, Ont., and Taysia Radoslav of Hamilton, Ont., also look to contend for the win and achieve the Olympic qualifying standard.
After some blazing 800-metre peformanes this spring, Brandon McBride of Windsor, Ont., will contest the 1500m at the Guelph Inferno. The runner-up at this year’s NCAA meet will take on NCAA steeplechase champion and Kevin Sullivan coached, Mason Ferlic of the USA; 2016 NCAA finalist Adam Palamar of Ottawa, Ont., and sub-4 miler Rob Denault of Aurora, Ont.
This year’s NCAA outdoor pole vault runner-up, Alysha Newman of Delaware, Ont., headlines a talented field of Canadian vaulters. The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist has been on a tear this outdoor season and looks to continue that momentum in Guelph.
The New Balance Speed River Inferno will be streamed live at AthleticsCanada.tv starting 7:00 p.m.