Treasure seventh at Pan Am Games

Less than the height of a couple toonie coins standing on edge.

That's how close Prince George high jumper Alyx Treasure came to winning a medal Wednesday at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

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Treasure finished seventh in the competition after clearing 1.85 metres with her second attempt. She was eliminated when the bar was set at 1.88m.

"I'm OK with it, I didn't jump horribly and I didn't jump my best but I felt like I gave my best on that day so I can't be too upset," said Treasure.

"I obviously wanted to jump higher but everything considered I think it went well, which will hopefully translate to next year and I can build on that."

Levern Spencer of Saint Lucia won gold with a personal best 1.94m with her third attempt. Priscilla Frederick of Antigua and Baruba and Akela Jones of Barbados both failed at 1.94m after clearing 1.91m and claimed silver and bronze respectively.

Treasure fed off the energy of a partisan Canadian crowd that wanted to see her and Emma Kimoto of Richmond standing on the medal podium. Kimoto (1.80m) ended up ninth. It was the largest crowd Treasure has ever seen for any of her meets on Canadian soil.

"I really enjoyed it - it made it a lot more fun for me having my country behind me and having such a large crowd supporting me," said Treasure. "I don't think the pressure really got to me. It just wasn't my day to go that high.

"There was a really bad headwind and my run-up was a little off and that was pushing me back a bit and I felt like I was reaching to try and get in the right position. I'm supposed to keep my last two steps relatively short and quick and because of the headwind it wasn't letting me run as aggressive as I wanted to."

Treasure's personal best, 1.98m, was set last year at the Canadian championships in Moncton, N.B. She reached a season-best 1.86m a few weeks ago when she defended her Canadian title in Edmonton. Treasure admitted injuries have played a role in not beating her own personal record this season.

"Things were not going well, my body was shutting down and my knees were horrible. I was not feeling good and I've had issues all season with my body giving out," she said. "You just have to deal with it. I felt decent (Wednesday), nothing that could really affect me."

The bronze medalist Jones was a teammate of Treasure's at Kansas State University, as was Kimberly Williamson of Jamaica, who finished just ahead of Treasure in sixth place. Williamson made her third and final attempt at 1.88m. KState Wildcats jumps coach Cliff Rovelto was also at trackside offering feedback to Treasure.

"Considering I had my coach there and all my teammates it wasn't that different of a meet for me and a lot of the people I competed against were in the NCAA so it felt pretty comfortable," the 23-year-old Treasure said.

"It's a little different being in the athletes' village for my first time and being surrounded by athletes. There was a lot more hype for the event and it came a lot quicker than I expected. It felt like I just got here and the next day I'm doing pre-meets. The time change got me and I wasn't sleeping very well."

Treasure had her mom Cindy sitting close by in the fourth row of the stands at York University but her father Steve, who had planned on making the trip from Prince George, was in surgery at UHNBC having his soccer-related knee injury repaired.

Treasure plans to attend a few Pan Am events over the next few days while she tours around Toronto with her mom. She's hoping to get to see boxer Kenny Lally of Prince George fight in the 56-kilogram weight class. Lally, 26, and Treasure attended College Heights secondary school at the same time.

"The closing ceremonies will be fun, especially being at home, it will be a great experience," Treasure said. "As a country, we've been doing amazing (in the Games medal count). We really stepped it up this year and did things a lot of people weren't expecting."

The meet marked the official end of Treasure's amateur career. She intends to turn pro next season while she's finishing off her studies at KState in Manhattan, Kan. To help fund her travel to professional meets, the local track and field community is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the Coast Inn of the North. Treasure will fly to Kansas the following day for the start of her school term.

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