© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

Typically, the final race of a track meet, like a boxing card, is the main event. At the 2023 Victoria Track Classic the competition was close throughout — perhaps there was no main event — it’s all good.

Men’s 3000m and 1500m

The even level of competition made for exciting racing and throws competitions. The final event of the Sunday matinee meet at Centennial Stadium was the men’s 3000 metres. Vancouver Thunderbird Tyler Dozzi took the lead after the pacer dropped off and stayed there until the final 100-metres where Aaron Ahl drove past and finished with an almighty kick for the win. Ahl runs with the Calgary-based CALTALF Athletic Association. He finished in the time of 8:05.04. The 24-year-old owns a best of 7:53.89, but the wind was swirling by mid-afternoon at the University of Victoria. Dozzi, also 24, last year ran his best 3000m at Centennial Stadium, clocking a 7:58.54, he recorded an 8:06.84 performance when finishing second to Ahl.

Aaron Ahl with the 3000m win, after winning the 1500m event. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

Regarding the sit-and-kick tactic by Ahl, he said, “We pretty much knew that was what was going to happen being that it was a two-race meet for me.”

Fellow thunderbird, Christian Gravel, took third in the time of 8:16.78 and took away a small personal best.

Ahl earlier had won the 1500m event in the time of 3:40.88. Nineteen-year-old Riley Flemington representing the Oakville Renegades Track Club clocked a 3:42.10 for second, while Kevin Robertson with Saint-Laurent Sélect took third in 3:42.65. For Flemington, it was at least his sixth new personal best this year. On June 24 in Windsor, ON he had set his latest 1500m best at 3:42.94.

Women’s 800m and 1500m

Shafiqua Maloney who hales from St. Vincent and the Grenadines has spent time in Oregon and Virginia. She holds the national 800m record at 2:01:58. The 24-year-old was looking for more than her finish time of 2:02.44 Sunday, but was happy considering the conditions. Asked about the difference between racing in Victoria and Virginia, she said, “Virginia is my second home. There you get used to training in all conditions, rain, wind, snow, hail, and heat.”

Abby Nichol with the 1500m win. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

Christina Aragon with Nike Bowerman Track Club clocked a 2:04.14 performance for second, while Emma Dagenais with the C. A. Université Laval took third in a close 2:04.30. Both finished within a second of their personal bests.

Abby Nichols with Hoka NAZ Elite took the lead from the pacer and added more than a second to it over the final 400m to win in the time of 4:07.47 in the 1500m. Teammate Katie Wasserman took second in 4:08.98 and unattached American Kayley Delay took third in the time of 4:11.20. Nichols and Wasserman improved the meet record previously held by Canadian Paula Schnurr at 4:09.16, which she accomplished in 1992.

    Nichols’ next will be running a Sound Running event in Los Angeles, looking to crack the 15-minute barrier in the 5000m event. Her best is 15:09.60 from the On Running Fest, another Sound Running event that took place on May 6. July 22, she will take in the Under Armor Sunset Tour meet.

    Nichols was coming off running a new 1500m personal best two nights prior in Langley at the Harry Jerome Track Classic. “The legs could feel it a bit today. I went hard, and had lactic in the arms and legs, so happy with that performance.”

    Meet and national records

    Fifteen-year-old Charlie Mlotshwa in front of his home crowd set the 2023 national U18 lead in the 1500m event clocking a 3:55.57, which is an approximate three-second personal best. Asked what he attributes to the great performance he said with a big smile, “Coach Bruce Deacon gave me very good advice before the race. I carried it out as planned and it worked very well. I needed to have a really good final 400m, and I did.” He also happens to be second to the lead in the same category in the 3000m event.

    Four women took Pam Dukes’ 1992 discus meet record of 56.44m. Cioma Onyekwere smashed the distance with a 60.13m effort. The 29-year-old Nigerian set the African record earlier this year with a 64.96m result, two metres better than the Canadian record. Also improving the meet record were American Veronica Fraley (59.04m), Obaigeri Amaechi from Nigeria (57.75m), and Ashley Anumba also from Nigeria with her 57.38m throw.

      Lloydricia “Lolo” Cameron from Jamaica, but living in Miami, put the shot right where it belongs, out of site at 16.97m for a new meet record. She is currently without a coach. Although the meet record is great, she has tossed the weight as far as 18.33m and is looking to get back into form.

      Jalen Seals could be heard yelling with excitement over at the long jump pit located in front of the main stadium. After all the rhythmic clapping, he let loose a legal jump and landed at 8.02m, for a new meet record. However, the American 24-year-old may not have an official record due to wind. His previous best wasn’t even close at 7.85m.


      Post-race video interviews available soon

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