Collegiate’s Energizer Bunny
Cassie Kemp had the track to herself Thursday at the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association track and field meet at Welland Centennial.
The 20-year-old St. Catharines Collegiate runner was the only competitor in the girls intellectually impaired 800 metres but no one should discount her talent based on lack of competition. Kemp won the same event at OFSAA in 2019 and set a provincial record in the event. She also has an OFSAA bronze medal in the 100 metres, two OFSAA cross country golds and another cross country silver medal on her resume.
Kemp isn’t sure how many OFSAA medals are in her collection.
“I have won tons of times,” she said, with a smile.
There is no secret to her success.
“Cassie is the Energizer Bunny. She just keeps going and going and going,” Collegiate coach Jessica Miotto said. “She comes to practice with a smile, she works hard and we are really proud of her. She graduates this year and we are hoping there are big things in store for her this year.”
Kemp described Thursday’s race as tiring, especially since she recently discovered that she has asthma.
“I still wanted to do it because I was the only one doing it,” she said.
She agreed it was difficult to be motivated in the race without having anyone to compete against. There was, however, plenty of encouragement from the stands.
“I just paid attention to the track and what was in front of me and I tried to keep up a good pace.”
She was checking her watch frequently during the event.
“It is my running watch and it tells me how many calories are used.”
Kemp won a SOSSA gold medal for the second straight day. On Wednesday, she edged teammate Vickie Larmet by 0.8 seconds to capture gold in the 100 metres.
“It went really well. My friend was coming up behind me after being way behind me. I said, ‘Nice try. I am running past you.’ ”
She prefers the 100 metres to the 800 metres.
“It is a lot easier because now I have asthma. The 800 is two laps and it is killing me inside of my lungs.”
Kemp also competed in the shot put and placed third behind Larmet and Sir Winston Churchill’s Sierra Dayler.
“I had never done shot put in my whole career of this and it was a lot of fun. Now I am going to be doing it from now on.”
She has lofty goals for the rest of the track season.
“I want to win gold at OFSAA. It is me competing against other kids and it is me trying to beat my time as best as I can.”
Kemp credits her coaches for her love of running.
“Miss (Cheryl) Dupont, Miss Miotto, Miss (Kelsie) Pietz and Mr. (Ryan) Racine have been absolutely amazing for me. Mr. Racine actually ran with me for cross country which was really nice.”