Although she is still eligible to compete at the youth level, because she’s the top hurdler in B.C., Chicago Bains got the call to represent the province at the junior national championships in Edmonton on July 2-5, and came home with a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles.
"I knew what place I was going into the meet, but I was definitely surprised," said Bains, who was ranked fourth in the country among all 100m hurdlers under 19.
She would have liked to come home with the gold, but considering the circumstances, she was pleased with bronze.
"[First place] was obviously my goal, but I’m really happy with third place," she said. "There’s always room for improvement."
Over two busy days, Bains ran four races in total, the finals and semifinals for both the 100m and 400m hurdles. She finished second in the 100m semifinals, but the entire field was upended when the eighth-place qualifier surged into second in the final. Bains qualified eighth out of a deep field in the 400m hurdles, and ended up in that same position in the final.
"I was four seconds off my personal best, so it wasn’t the best race in the world," she admitted. "The conditions just weren’t there for me."
Although the runners she was racing against were a little older, and the hurdles are a bit bigger – juniors leap over 33-inch hurdles while the youth height is 30 inches – Bains wasn’t intimidated.
"The hurdles are higher, but I knew most of the competition," she said. "I knew what I was facing."
It is something of a challenge to change hurdle height constantly, but Bains is able to adapt quickly.
"I’ve been doing it throughout the year, going from high hurdles to low hurdles," she said. "I’m getting used to it by now."
This weekend, Bains and several of her Cowichan Valley Athletic Club teammates will head to Nanaimo for the provincial youth team trials. Based on previous years, it shouldn’t be a problem for her to qualify. It’s not a done deal, but Bains knows she’ll still have to be at her best.
"I’m not nervous for it. I’m just hoping I have a clean race and get near my personal best."
After winning gold in the 100m hurdles at the Legion Youth National Championships in 2013, Bains took silver in 2014 and will be looking to reclaim top spot on the podium this year.