The Western Mustangs' student-athlete from Malahide had an outstanding debut
March 25, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, Ont. - Hallee Knelsen, of the Western Mustangs, is the 2022 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) track and field female rookie of the year, announced today.
At the OUA championships, March 18-19, in Toronto, the 18-year old Malahide resident, won the bronze medal in the 600-metre run, crossing the line in one minute 33.16 seconds (1:33.16).
Knelsen also finished fourth, in the 1000-metres, in a time of 2:52.79, a slower tactical race.
"I'm really happy. I knew there was a chance I could get it, but with it being track you don't always know who in the other events is a rookie, from the jumps and the throws," Knelsen said. "I didn't know if I was in a position to win or not."
The 2021 graduate of East Elgin secondary school, finished the OUA meet season, at number three on the U Sports women's rankings, for the 600 and seventh, for the 1000.
With the announcement, the OUA stated, with talent-laden fields across the board, it isn't easy to carve out a place among the conference's elite in the first go-around, but an outstanding first-year phenom did just that.
Knelsen said it's a season she hoped for.
"I didn't really know what to expect being my first year. University is an adjustment. Being able to compete at that level well still figuring everything out is really good," said Knelsen, adding there's not a race at OUA tracks that stands out over another. "Not necessarily a particular race, but the whole thing, doing that many races, kind of OU's as a whole."
Kicking off the 2022 indoor season, Knelsen placed third in the 1000 (2:51.48), at the Lancers Reboot meet, February 13.
A week later on Feb. 20, Knelsen finished second, in the 600 (1:33.75), at the Can Am Classic, at Windsor.
At Western University, March 5, Knelsen set her PB in the 1000, placing second in 2:49.65.
The runners who have placed ahead of the 18-year old Knelsen have been three to five years older.
Knelsen's highlight of the season, is attaining the standard for the junior worlds, in the 800 metres, placing fourth in a personal best time of 2:06.74, at a meet at Boston University.
Next is the U Sports (Canadian university) Indoor championships, at Saint John, N.B., March 31-April 2.
Knelsen is also part of both the Mustang women's 4x400 and 4x800-metre relay teams.
800 standard attained
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