Andy Watson

Rookie Rachel Francois won the women’s 600-metre race, besting the automatic CIS championship standard, to lead the University of Victoria Vikes track team at the Golden Bear Open in Edmonton, Jan. 20-22.


Francois, who grew up in St. Albert, Alta., not far from Edmonton, beat a strong field, including national team member Carline Muir of Edmonton, to set a new personal best time of 1:32.05 to take over the No. 1 CIS ranking in the event.

The freshman also ran a personal best of 40.0110 in the women’s 300-metre race and now ranks second nationally behind Sharai Siemens of Saskatchewan. Francois is closing in on the Vikes school record of 1:31.43 set in 11101102 by Kirsten Lundgren.

UVic junior Kendra Pomfret finished fourth in the women’s 600-metre race, and her personal best of 1:33.77 now ranks her fifth in the CIS national rankings and within range of the automatic CIS qualifier of 1:32.81.

The Vikes women’s 4x400m team established a new school record of 3:56.15 finishing second in the varsity race behind CIS No. 1 ranked Saskatchewan. The team members are young with rookies Francois, Grace Annear and Halley Cote teaming with Pomfret to move to No. 3 in the national rankings.

On the men’s side, second-year runner John Pratt moved to No. 2 in the national 600-metre rankings as he won his heat in a time of 1:20.51.

Senior Kyle Irvine set a new personal best in the 1000-metre of 2:32.85 to move to No. 6 in the Canada West rankings, and junior Doug Oxland finished third in the men’s 3000-metre in 8:54.65 to rank No. 4 in the conference.

Next up for the Vikes track team is the University of Washington Invitational on Jan 28 in Seattle.