By Ali Lee, with files from Athletics Canada

VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes track program will be well-represented in summer competition for 2012. Vikes rookie Ryan Cassidy (Grande-Digue, NB), UVic and CIS rookie of the year Rachel Francois (St. Albert, Alta.) and third-year Thomas Riva (Qualicum, BC)have recently been selected to represent Canada at the Under-23 North American, Central American and Carribean (NACAC) Championship, hosted in Guanajuato, Mexico from July 6-8.


Both Francois and Riva are 800-m specialists and qualified through NTL meet’s hosted this summer. Francois ran a personal best time of 2:03.97 at the Victoria International Track Classic (VITC), Jun 13, at Centennial Stadium to qualify as the second ranked 800-m runner for athletes eligible for NACAC selection (born in 1990-92).

Riva competed at the VITC but qualified the week after at the Donovan Bailey Track Classic, hosted in Edmonton. Riva qualified in 1:48.92 and joins team Canada as the No. 2-ranked NACAC eligible athlete. Both Francois and Riva will also compete in the Canadian Olympic trials, hosted in Calgary, June 27-30. Immediately following the trials, both athletes will head straight to Mexico for the NACAC Championship.

This will be Riva’s first opportunity competing for Canada, while Francois has had previous international experience, representing Canada at the Pan American Junior Championship in August 2011.

Also representing Canada this summer is Canada West cross-country rookie of the year Cassidy, who qualified for the IAAF World Junior Championship team in the 3000-m steeplechase. Cassidy will travel to Barcelona, Spain for competition from July 10-15.