Rookie Francois to race Track Classic for spot to represent Canada

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By Kate Masters, Vikes Communications

VICTORIA, B.C. (ISN) – First-year track runner Rachel Francois (St. Albert, Alta.) is the lone University of Victoria Vike to be competing in the women’s NTL 800-m race at the 2012 Victoria International Track Classic (VITC), June 13.

The Alberta-native is looking to qualify for the Canadian U-23 team that will compete at the NACAC championships in Guanajuato, Mexico July 6-8.

Francois, a humanities student, led the force on the Vikes middle distance team this year. In the 600-m, the rookie was undefeated for the entire season. At both the Canada West Championships and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championships, Francois won the gold and was also honoured as a CIS first team all-star and CIS rookie of the year.

“Winning was great, it was everything I wanted and hoped for coming to UVic,” said Francois. “It gives me a bar that I have to set for next year, it’s just nice to start off well. From now on I have to improve my times, that’s my biggest focus moving forward.”

To make the Canadian U-23 team, Francois must clock in below 2:06 in the 800-m and rank as one of top two athletes in Canada born in 1990-92. Before the VITC, Francois will have another opportunity to qualify for the U-23 team at the Harry Jerome International in Burnaby, June 10. After the VITC, the Alberta-native will run the 400-m at the Donovan Bailey Invitational in Edmonton, June 16. If Francois can post a fast 400-m time, she could be named to the 4×400-m relay, increasing the depth of the team and her chances of being selected individually for the 800-m.

Switching from the 600-m to the 800-m isn’t a big leap for Francois, having raced for the Vikes in the 4×800-m relay at the Canada West Championship and CIS Championship, winning gold and silver respectfully. As a junior, Francois placed fourth in the 800-m at the Pan American junior championships in Florida.

Francois, whose goal is to run the 800-m at the 2016 Olympics, credits the University of Victoria’s track program for accelerating her achievements.

“The Vikes track program made me have big improvements in my times,” said Francois. “I’ve learned a lot about training and the importance of having a group of girls who are supportive. Brent (Fougner) and Keith (Butler) are great coaches and they know a lot about track.”

For more information on the VITC visit: www.trackclassic.com

 

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