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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

WINNIPEG (ISN) – Both the UVic Vikes men’s and women’s 4 x 800m relay team’s earned silver medals to close out the night for day two of the CIS track championship behind held at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

For the women, Rachel Francois (St. Albert, Alta.) closed a five second gap between the Guelph leader but fell short as the Vikes finished in a time of 8:49.75. For the men, John Pratt (Victoria, BC) lead for almost the entire final leg but in a thrilling finish, Western closed the gap and passed Pratt in the final sprint to the finish line to leave the Vikes in second in a time of 7:32.58.


The women’s 4x800m team of Grace Annear, Kendra Pomfret, Shauna McInnis and Francois were strong throughout the entire race. In the hand off for the second leg, Pomfret was a force, taking over first place in a convincing fashion. The lead slipped away by the time Francois stepped up to the line but a notable effort was made to close on a five second gap and Guelph pushed hard at the end to take the win in 8:45.13.

“We knew it was going to be hard to beat Guelph tonight,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “I thought we would be down about five seconds going into the last leg and we were but Rachel came brought the five second gap to two seconds or even a second and then Guelph pulled away on us. Kendra also had a great race tonight for and it was a personal best for her.”

For the men, Adam Gaudes (Winnipeg, Man.) took the lead right from the start giving his teammates Kyle Irvine, Thomas Riva and Pratt a nice head start. It was a close battle during the second and third leg of the race but Riva did well to give Pratt a strong lead in the final leg. It was a dramatic finish for the Vikes, as Pratt had a convincing lead for the majority of the final 800m. In the final stretch to the finish line, Western pushed hard to finish just 1.30 seconds ahead of the Vikes to take the gold medal.

“You can never tell how the race is going to go,” explained Fougner. “The most important thing is that when you hand off that last leg that you are in contact or in the lead with that group and that is where we were. It came down to Western having an amazing final leg and they just came back on [Pratt] just at the finish. That was probably the fastest finishes of any 4 x 800m ever.”

Canada West first team all-star Riva made his first appearance in the CIS championship earlier on day two, racing to ninth place in the men’s 1000m final in a time of 2:28.33. Guelph’s Tommy Lecours finished first in the event in a time of 2:22.09 becoming the first national record-breaker of the 2012 CIS indoor championship.

In the men’s 3000m, senior Cliff Childs raced to an eighth place finish in a time of 8:23.38. Childs battled hard through the final 200m but McMaster’s Graham Bowes gained the last few passing strides to finish in 8:22.93. Windsor’s Matt Walters took the title in a time of 8:10.22

Fifth-year Alicia Roske raced her final event in a VIkes bib in the women’s 3000m final. Roske finished in 11th place in a time of 10:23.82. Lindsay Carson, of McMaster University, and Andrea Seccafien, of Guelph, were the first to cross the line in a time of 9:34.37 but honours went to Carson who was declared the champion by a photo finish.

The CIS championship will conclude tomorrow, Mar. 10, with medal hopefuls coming from Francois in the women’s 600m and Gaudes in the men’s 600m.

Mar. 9, 2012 Vikes Final Results:
Men’s 1000m: 9th – Thomas Riva (2:28.33)
Men’s 3000m: 8th – Cliff Childs (8:23.38)
Women’s 3000m: 11th – Alicia Roske (10:23.82)
Women’s 4x800m: 2nd – Grace Annear, Kendra Pomfret, Shauna McInnis, Rachel Francois (8:49.75)
Men’s 4x800m: 2nd – Adam Gaudes, Kyle Irvine, Thomas Riva, John Pratt (7:32.58)