by Steve Ewen, The Province
Jessica Smith has a Pan Am Games spot. At least for now.
The 25-year-old from North Vancouver jumped out from the pack just after the final turn in the 800 metres and edged Fiona Benson at the finish line to win the Harry Jerome Track Classic showcase event Monday night at Swangard Stadium.
Smith, a London 2012 Olympian, clocked 2:01.40, which is the current quickest time in the country at that distance. Athletics Canada will take the competitors with the two best performances this season to the Pan Am Games, which go July 10-26 in Toronto, but the deadline to qualify is Sunday.
Several of the top 800 metre contenders, including Smith, are slated to race again Wednesday during the Victoria International Track Classic. If they don’t qualify then, they could try to find another sanctioned race somewhere prior to Sunday.
Benson, 24, the Dawson Creek native and Trinity Western University standout, had been the top 800 metre seed going into the evening, thanks to a 2:01.58 showing from earlier this season. She’s now second, thanks to her runner-up showing to Smith at the Jerome, a 2:01.48 effort.