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Aiden wins U20 bronze 1500m

Aiden Coles bronze at U20 Canadians

The St. Thomas native finishes third in the 1500 metres, while brother Tristan is fifth;

Roth finishes fifth in the senior men's 400 and Knelsen advances to U20 800 final


    June 25, 2022


team width= Aiden Coles with his bronze medal, won in the men's 1500 metres, at the Canadian U20 track and field championships, June 25, in Langley, B.C. (photo / courtesy Coles)

By Rob J. Ross 

LANGLEY, B.C. - Aiden Coles is a National bronze medalist.

The 17-year old from St. Thomas finished third, in the U20 men's 1500 metre run, at the Canadian track and field championships.

Coles clocked in with a time of 4:00.86, in a finish that had five runners cross the line within about a tenth of a second. Matti Erickson, of Kootenay, B.C. won in 3:59.81, while Jude-Wheeler Dee, from Kingston, was second, in 4:00.14.

Aiden's brother, Tristan placed fifth, in 4:00.94. Oakville's Riley Flemington was fourth, in 4:00.97.

"Third place was not what I was looking for, although I can't hang my head too low with third in the country, said Coles. "Bringing home a bronze medal is a bitter sweet feeling for me. Obviously I would much rather have a medal than no medal, but the competitive side of me wants it to be gold every single race."

Due to the pace, Coles was off his personal best time of 3:45.41, set a week earlier at a meet in Hamilton, that put him under the junior worlds' standard of 3:48.5.

"The race was slow from the gun. Our laps were something like 50 (300m split), 65, 73, then 52 seconds for the final 400 metres. It was a very tactical championship race," Coles said. "The race came down the the final 100 metres. Nolan Turgeon took the lead with 400 metres to go and really started pressing the pace, with 200 to go there were five of us in it and Jude pulled away. Matti chased him down for the win and I slowly started passing Riley Flemington for the bronze medal."

Coles' final lap put him on the podium.

"That is one of the fastest 400 metres times I've ever run, never mind at the end of a 1500 metre race," Coles said. "I definitely gave it everything I had, considering the way the race was run."

Now the wait for selection of the Canadian team for the U20 worlds, in Cali, Columbia, in August, begins. The team will be announced on July 13th. Two athletes for the 1500 will be chosen. Erickson automatically qualifies, but is also a contender for the 800 metres. Coles, Flemington and Wheeler-Dee, each who have met the standard, are vying for a spot.

"I'm definitely in the mix to make the team," Coles said. "Hopefully I am selected."

The 1500 was the pinnacle of Coles' first appearance at the meet.

"Nationals track and field is an unreal environment," said Coles. "Seeing all these professional athletes every day and walking past them is unreal. I strive to be where they are one day and hope that I can have younger athletes looking up to me as I look up to them."

Tristan was just edged out for a medal.

"The race went out ridiculously slow and with one lap to go, Nolan made a huge move and took the lead and gapped everyone," said Tristan. "We all responded and my last lap was 52 seconds, but I was already in about eighth with a lap to go, so it was hard to catch the front guys. Overall, can't be too upset, because races can go anyway and I ran to compete so can't have any regrets."

Tristan has the 5000 metres on Sunday.


Roth fifth

Micheal Roth, of St. Thomas, finished fifth, in the senior men's 400-metre final, with a season's best (SB) time of 47.21 seconds.

"It was an alright race," said the 20-year old. "Got fatigued before hand with the heat, so that sucked. Still had a SB though, so overall it was fine."

Roth is recovering from a few injuries, following his first year at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

"Just got to train more to get into better shape," Roth said. "and to just relax when I run."

Up next for Roth, are the Canada Games Trials, where he plans to run the 200-metre dash.


Knelsen to U20 800 final

Hallee Knelsen advanced to the U20 women's 800-metre final, avoiding a fall early in her heat, to win in 2:16.49.

Two runners, including Emily Cescon, of Toronto, tripped and fell to the ground, just 200 metres in to race, forcing the entire field to slow down to avoid getting tangled up.

"It definitely changed the dynamic of the race," said Knelsen. "I was right behind it, so it was hard to get around, but I did what I could. I didn't completely stop, but I kind of did a sideways jump over her (Cescon).

Cescon, who made a valiant comeback following her fall, and Nayla Marton, pushed Knelsen over the final 300 metres.

"There was a bit of concern, just because I knew it was a slow heat, so whoever wasn't top two wouldn't make it to the final, but I was confident I could still stay top two," said Knelsen, who put some space between her and Cescon in the final metres.

Having already attained the 800-metre standard time of 2:07.1 earlier this year, a win in the final, would send the 19-year old Knelsen to junior worlds.

"I assume to get on the podium will take an all out race for sure," said Knelsen. "May need a season's best, but I'm hoping for one anyway and the competition should be good for it.

Two of Knelsen's teammates from the University of Western Mustangs, Chloe and Sophie Coutts, also moved on to the final, finishing one-two, in their heat.

Avery Pearson, of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, had the fastest qualifying time, handily winning her heat in 2:09.37. Pearson represented Canada last year at junior worlds.

The U20 800 final is Sunday, 2:25 pm eastern time.