While he may be quick on his feet, Andrew Aguanno wound up hot on the heels of someone else on July 29 in Abbotsford, B.C.
The recent St. Michael’s College School graduate was the top seed in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase at the national junior track championships, but settled for bronze as he finished with a time of 9:23.67.
He was five seconds back of winner Matt Hughes of the Toronto Olympic Club, who posted a 9:18.56. Olivier Lavoie, of Corsaire Chaparal, took the silver.
In last year’s championships, Aguanno competed in the men’s 5,000-metre run, placing 10th, but tore some abdominal muscles in the process.
"There was no fear of that happening again," said the York University Track Club runner after returning from Abbotsford. "This was a different event."
Aguanno says the race started with a lack of momentum.
"I wanted to stay at a strong pace, but instead the race went really, really, slow," he said. "We were all just in one really big pack."
Aguanno said he was "kinda worried" because he got tripped up a couple times, with other runners "hitting my legs just after going over hurdles".
With two laps remaining, Aguanno took the lead and broke away from the pack of runners, but it wasn’t enough to keep Hughes, and later Lavoie, from passing him in the last 500 metres.
Two months ago at the provincial high school track and field championships in Ottawa, Aguanno was favoured to win the senior boys’ 2,000-metre steeplechase and had led the majority of the race until he lost his footing after being tripped up by a hurdle on the water jump in the final lap. That cost him the race, again to Hughes.
Despite that, there is no rivalry, says Aguanno, the 2007 Metro Regional gold medalist, who will heading to the University of Windsor to study English and creative writing in the fall.
"He (Hughes) is actually at my house sleeping right now," he said during the phone interview. "We were out partying last night."
Aguanno may not have taken home gold like he wanted from the nationals, but he says he’s happy to have medaled.
"It feels pretty good," he said. "It’s my first national medal."
The 17-year-old followed his national performance with a gold medal run at the fourth Eastern Canadian Espoir Team Championships in Mount Pearl, Nfld. on Aug. 4. Aguanno finished with a time of 6:38.52, helping Team Ontario to a meet victory.
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