OTTAWA (ISN) – Two University of Victoria Vikes cross country runners and two coaches will be part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national team to compete in Poland this spring for the 18th FISU world university cross country championships.
The competition is set for Saturday, April 14 in Lodz, Poland’s third largest city situated approximately 135 kilometres south-west of Warsaw.
Vikes associate coach Keith Butler will be joined by Ingrid Ruys, a Vikes coach based in Alberta, at the event along with runners Cliff Childs and Dylan Haight. For Childs, it’s his first international racing experience.
“Keith being named head coach is a show of the work that he’s put into this program and how he’s established himself not only as an associate coach here but as a coach within the CIS,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “That’s one of the reasons we have him here, because he’s a very good coach. He’s going to do wonders for our program here.”
Dylan has competed previously at the World Junior Championships and this will be Cliff’s first international experience and for both of them, at FISU cross country it is achieveable to run well there,” Fougner said. “It’s not dominated by the African nations like you experience in world cross. We’re reacing against a lot of European countries and the races are close, it’s a great culturual experience for them, too. So it’s a very good introduction to international competition for our athletes.”
Canada is coming off its best-ever performance at the biennial event, which was held on Canadian soil for the first time in history in 2010. The women captured team bronze on the course of Fort Henry Hill in Kingston, Ont., while the men finished just outside the podium, in fourth place.
Highlighting the 2012 Canadian selection are four members of the University of Guelph Gryphons, who resumed their domination of CIS cross country last month claiming a seventh straight women’s team title and a sixth consecutive men’s banner.
The Gryphons’ foursome includes Lydia Frost of Bocabec, Ont., and Carise Thompson of Lynden, Ont., as well as male teammates Aaron Hendrikx of Parkhill, Ont., and Allan Brett of Ottawa.
Rounding out the women’s squad are University of Toronto’s Tamara Jewett, Western Ontario University’s Jen Bays and Laval University’s Catherine Cormier. On the men’s side, the red and white team is completed by University of Windsor teammates Matt Walters and Paul Janikowski, as well as Dylan Haight and Cliff Childs, both from UVic.
Keith Butler from the University of Victoria will be Canada’s head coach in Poland. He will be assisted by UVic colleague Ingrid Ruys and Windsor’s Gary Malloy. Vikes athletic therapist Traci van der Byl will head up the medical team.
Great Britain is the reigning women’s team champion after finishing ahead of Australia and Canada two years ago. Japan captured the men’s crown at Fort Henry Hill, with Spain and Great Britain rounding out the podium.