The 800-metre final wasn’t about the other girls in the race, or trying to beat them to the finish line.
Really, Nanaimo’s Alyssa Mousseau was racing against seconds and hundredths of seconds, trying to complete her two laps and stop that clock as quick as she could.
“Some races you don’t get personal bests, sometimes you have breakthroughs and it really depends on the day,” said the Grade 11 student from Wellington Secondary School. “If you try to make everything as perfect as possible, maybe one time you’ll pop a good time and that’s what you’ve always been training for.”
At the B.C. High School Track and Field Championships June 6, it was one of those breakthrough days. Mousseau won her final by a huge margin in a personal-best time of two minutes, 9.04 seconds.
“It was so close to 2:08, but I was really happy with the time…” she said. “I was really impressed and happy with myself.”
The provincial gold medal was almost an afterthought – Mousseau won the junior girls’ 800m championship the last two years, but this was her first as a senior-level competitor.
“It’s obviously a goal that everyone who goes there is hoping to get and few are able to accomplish it,” she said.
Yet here she is, a three-peat champ, and this latest win had a lot of flair – it’s the sort of time that will attract notice from post-secondary track programs in Canada and the U.S. Any other year, it would have booked her entry into youth world championships, though this year there happens to be more fast females than ever across the country.
When Mousseau talked to the Bulletin this week, she wasn’t sure if she was going to give junior nationals a try against athletes a year and two years her senior. But she will be at the starting line at youth nationals this August, where she will look to improve on last summer’s fourth-place finish.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication,” Mousseau said. “I’ve worked really hard this year and hopefully it’ll all work out and cards will land where they may.”
It helps, she said, that her peers at the Nanaimo Track and Field Club motivate and inspire her. A lot of other locals can run fast laps around the track at Rotary Bowl.
“We all kind of feed off of each other’s energy and we all push each other to limits that we wouldn’t be able to do without each other,” Mousseau said. “Obviously I have a huge passion for track and field, I’ve always loved it, but it’s been so much greater having the group of friends that I’ve now made.”
With her teammates and coaches and with her own two feet, Mousseau will find out how many more seconds and hundredths of seconds she can trim away.
“That’s to be determined…” she said. “That’s what track’s about, for that one time when you have that ah-ha moment, when the stars align and you just pop an amazing time.”