Sifuentes_Flash© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Twenty-eight-year-old Winnipeg native Nicole Sifuentes (now lives in Michigan State), has had two, much-improved years of racing during both the 2013 and 2014 indoor and outdoor track seasons. She ran personal bests in both the 1500m indoors with her time of 4:07.61 and the indoor mile at 4:28.91 in 2014. During 2013 she ran bests outdoors with her 1500m time of 4:04.65 and 5,000m of 15:27.58, however, she tempers her enthusiasm about her accomplishments and instead, being somewhat unsatisfied, but optimistic, believes she will achieve much more in the near future.

Sifuentes told Athletics Illustrated, “Honestly from my perspective I can’t say the past two years have been particularly strong. Although I’ve had solid training, great coaching and support system, and very few setbacks (injuries or illness), I have failed to meet most of my goals in the past two years. I may be setting the bar high, but I truly believe I am capable of greatness. Running well at World Indoors and winning a medal there deepened that belief.”

Sifuentes most recently won the 2014 Crim’s Michigan Festival of Races mile road race, on Friday, August 22nd by finishing in the time of 4:44.13. It was a narrow victory where the first four women finished within eight tenths of a second between them. The second-place finisher was Heather Kampf of Minneapolis; she was followed in by Sarah Brown of Solana Beach, California and Sara Vaughn of Boulder. The Crim’s Mile was the fifth stop during the inaugural Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour of 2014.

Sifuentes won a bronze medal in Sopot, Poland at the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championship on March 9, 2014 with her finish time of 4:07.61. She followed up that performance with a good effort during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she finished fourth in the 1500m final behind teammate Kate Van Buskirk of Toronto. Van Buskirk earned the bronze medal with her finish time of 4:09.41; it was a tactical race that required a big kick and Van Buskirk was on a career-best roll during 2014.

While specialising in the 1500m distance, Sifuentes had a good showing during the shorter distance 800m at the 2014 Michigan Track Classic in Saline, Michigan that was run on August 10th. She finished the race in the time of 2:02.72 and in seventh place, just ahead of Americans Morgan Uceny, Lara Greena and Phoebe Wright. Her personal best time at the distance is 2:01.30.

During 2013, while competing in the USATF High Performance Meet at Occidental College (Oxy) in Los Angeles, CA, she ran faster than the required “A” standard as set by Athletics Canada of 4:05.50, (the “B” standard is 4:09.00) to compete in the Worlds. Sifuentes finished third overall in a new personal best and meet record time* of 4:04.65, eclipsing her own 4:04.74 from 2012 and former meet record holder Shannon Rowbury’s 4:05.92. At that time she said, “I am really happy with the race last night. My training has been going well and definitely indicated that I was ready to run “A” standard, but that said, sometimes it takes a few tries. This was my first attempt at 1500m this season.”

She went on to compete at the 2013 IAAF World Track and Field Championships, with the results of that event being her only real blemish on the past two years of running.

As she has run well at the 5,000m distance with her best of 15:27.58 she is not sure is she will move up permanently yet. When asked, she replied, “I am not sure about the 5k. I’ll likely do one early summer as I always do, but my coach and I won’t make plans for next year until after I wrap up this season and take a break.”

As for looking forward, Sifuentes expects to run well during international competition such as the 2015 Pan-American Games that will take place in Toronto as well as the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup happening in September in Marrakech, Morocco. “I’m pretty excited about next year! My coach and I haven’t laid out anything specific yet because I am still currently in season (preparing for the IAAF Continental Cup on September 14), but I do have set my sights on the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championship.  I need to get myself in that final. Pan Ams will also be a big deal since Toronto is hosting, and I want to be on the podium there.