Rookie Francois, Senior Andrus, Women’s Rugby take January honours

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Ali Lee

VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes Varsity Council has announced their January 2012 winners for the Applebee’s Varsity Council athletes and teams of the month. All winners will be presented a gift certificate to Applebee’s Restaurant.

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – Rachel Francois, Women’s Track

At the January Golden Bear Open, first-year Rachel Francois captured the gold medal in the women’s 600-metre race, besting the automatic CIS championship standard. Francois, who grew up in St. Albert, Alta. beat a strong field, including national team member Carline Muir, of Edmonton, to set a new personal best time of 1:32:05 to over take the No. 1 CIS ranking event. Francois also clocked another personal best in the 300-metre race in a time of 40.09 and now ranks second nationally. Only a week later, the freshman smashed the Vikes women’s 800-metre school record by over four seconds at the University of Washington Invitational. Establishing a new personal best of 2:07.70, Francois broke the UVic record of 2:11.90 set in 1977 by Ullan Hansen. Several events still lie ahead for Francois and the track team including Canada West Championships Feb. 24-25 in Saskatoon and the CIS Championships Mar. 8-10 in Winnipeg.

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – Zac Andrus, Men’s Basketball

Senior guard Zac Andrus, of Vashon Island, Wash., has been crucial to the Vikes men’s basketball Canada West campaign. With a current record of 11-3, the Vikes are the nationaly ranked no. 7 team in the CIS and are on course to the first round of playoffs. Andrus has been instrumental in the Vikes’ success contributing an average of 12.4 points per game and netting an average of 49% of three point shots. Andrus is second on the team in three pointers made, free throws made, rebounds and minutes played. Andrus has cleaned up the offensive boards, picking up 66 offensive rebounds in 14 games and leads the team in assists with an average of 4.1 per game. On Jan. 14, Andrus lead the Vikes with 27 points, going six for six from the line to defeat the Fraser Valley Cascades 91-67 on home court. On Jan. 21, Andrus was crucial in the 101-79 win over the Manitoba Bisons. Clocking 27 minutes in that game, the five-foot-eleven guard netted 30 points, while going 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Andrus currently leads the Canada West with the highest assist to turnover ratio of 3.4 with the next highest ratio of 1.7 by Tristan Smith, of Trinity Western.

TEAM OF THE MONTH – Women’s Rugby Team

The VIkes women’s rugby team is a shining example of what it means to be a varsity athlete not only on but off the field as well. In the 2011-12 academic year the women have been involved in numerous volunteer and fundraising operations. Like most varsity athletes they assisted at the Championship Breakfast and with the Raise-a-Reader program. The Vikes women have also taken their own initiatives and successfully raised just under $500 for prostate cancer by holding a Jersey Draw. Operation Christmas Child, was also a cause which they women supported this holiday season. This is a program which involves putting together shoe boxes of toys which they send to less fortunate children around the world over the holiday. This January, both the men’s and women’s rugby teams and are working on supporting Gainline Africa, which is an organization which seeks to promote the value of sport through rugby communities abroad and at home. Currently Gainline Africa is focusing on communities in Uganda and is commonly recognized through their orange shoe-lace campaign. The Uvic Women are not only committed to their development as athletes but also to the development of their local community.

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