Tomorrow’s 23rd annual Victoria International Classic at Centennial Stadium is the second stop in the inaugural season of the Canadian National Track League. The NTL kicked off last night in Vancouver after its first scheduled meet in Edmonton was canceled due to thunderstorms, and the $300,000 circuit continues July 10th in Halifax and finishes July 13th in Toronto.
The Victoria International Classic promises to continue the excitement from Vancouver’s Harry Jerome Classic, which saw many top American and Canadian collegians squaring off against top international athletes. There are four International events, the 100 Meter Hurdles, the men’s 1500, and the men’s and women’s 800.
100 Meter Hurdles
The field is almost exactly the same as yesterday’s field, minus race winner and 2003 World Champs gold medalist Perdita Felicien. Former Idaho hurdler Christie Gordon replaces Felicien on the start list, and she will be mixing it up with some other top Canadian hurdlers, Angela Whyte, Jessica Zelinka, Phylicia George, and Nikkita Holder. Whyte emerged on top of this bunch last night in her second-place effort with heptathlete Zelinka next, but last weekend in Calgary George and Holder edged Whyte. Definitely any one of those four women could come away with the victory.
The biggest name in this field for American fans is Lea Wallace of Sacramento State, who is continuing her breakout season. However, despite running a great 2:02.15, she finished third last night, almost a second behind Quebec’s Lemlem Ogbasilassie who successfully hit the B standard by seven hundredths of a second. Look for Bowen Island’s Helen Crofts to bounce back from last night’s sixth place showing.
Canadian champ Andrew Ellerton held off USATF finalist Casimir Loxsom of Penn State last night 1:45.04 to 1:45.28. Tomorrow Cas will again have his hands full with multiple-time U.S. champ ad recent runner-up Khadevis Robinson, who did not race yesterday, as well as last night’s 1500 champ and Canadian Olympian Nate Brannen. Also in the mix will be another Canadian Olympian, Taylor Milne, and under the radar former D1 runners Dustin Emrani (American) and Julius Mutekanga (Long Island).
As mentioned above, Nate Brannen, winner of last night’s 1500, will be in the 800, leaving runner-up and Canadian Olympic hopeful Geoff Martinson as the favorite in tomorrow’s 1500. Challenging him will be most of last night’s competitors, many of whom are recently graduated stars from the American collegiate scene. Many of you will remember Matt Gibney (Villanova) from his stellar anchor leg at Penn Relays earlier this year, and Ryan Foster (Penn State) is coming back strong after a disappointing end to his collegiate career. The two finished third and fifth last night, respectively. The wild card here could be Andrew Ellerton, new to the 1:45 club and able to play at a different distance now that he has the 'A' standard for the 800. Also in the hunt will be another former Nittany Lion, Matt Lincoln, former Stanford Cardinal Justin Marpole-Bird, who finished seventh last night, and Carlos Jamieson, an alum of lesser-known American University. Outside of former D1 athletes, we have NAIA superstar Silas Kisorio, who will attempt to bounce back after a rough outing, and Sean Brosnan, formerly of D2 powerhouse Adams State, who did not compete yesterday. Also in the field are a number of other top Canadians, including last night’s fourth and sixth place finishers, Kyle Boorsma (the Canadian Inter-University Sport Cross Country champion) and Anthony Berkis.
Other athletes of note at the meet are Christian Smith, who I think is none other than the 2008 US Olympian, entered in the National Development 800, and former Penn State and Cortland State runner Fawn Dorr, who is in the open 400. Should be some great stuff tomorrow, and remember to tune in here for recaps and videos!
NTL Victoria International Classic Preview