Athletes return to high performance meets

 Two high performance athletes   

 return to competition


   Madie Wilson-Walker and Hallee Knelsen excited to pursue dreams


Sunday, June 6, 2021


By Rob J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - The excitement for two local track and field stars was simply getting out to compete.

Following several months of limited activity, both para athlete Madison Wilson-Walker and middle distance runner Hallee Knelsen, attended their first meet of the year, the Ottawa High Performance Weekend, June 5.

"It was really nice to finally be in the competition environment again," Wilson-Walker said.

The meet is the first of four for Athletics Ontario's High Performance Series, also a qualifier for the Toyko Games.





Wilson-Walker is working towards her goal of competing in long jump at the Paralympic Games. At Ottawa, she had a best leap of 4.21 metres in women's long jump.

"It wasn't a bad start, but wasn't what I was hoping for," said Wilson Walker. "I've been jumping close to or over five metres in practice so I would like to do that in competition soon."

In 2019, the Avon native competed in long jump and the 100-metre sprint at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, placing fourth in both events.

A graduate of Lord Dorchester secondary school now at Western University, Wilson-Walker will be attending the second high performance meet in Windsor, June 12.

On the track, Knelsen lowered her personal best time in the women's 800-metre run, from 2:09.54 to 2:08.10.

"It went really well. Hands down my fastest opener ever and felt great," said Knelsen, a grade 12 student at East Elgin secondary school heading to Western University this September. "My first meet in a long time."

Over the past few months Knelsen kept in shape with one on one training with St. Thomas Legion track and field club coach Harry Stantsos and a few time trials.

"I didn't have the guys to push me at practice (and) it isn't the same intensity but I think those (time trials) definitely helped," Knelsen said. "The fact that this is my first race in a long time hopefully means that faster time are coming soon."

Knelsen is aiming to shave more time off her PB to eclipse 2:07.20, the standard time required for the World U20 track and field championships in late August.

In 2019 at the OFSAA high school track and field championships, Knelsen won a silver medal in the junior women's 800 metre run. Due to the pandemic the Aylmer native never had the opportunity to compete as a senior athlete.

Her last meet in March 2020, was Athletics Ontario U20 indoor track and field championships, where Knelsen brought home silver medals in the women's 400, 800 and 1500 metre races. Her 2:10.26 in the 800 was a personal best time.