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By Natalie Wise, Vikes Communications

October 7, 2012, VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s cross country team raced to a first-place finish in the 39th annual Western Washington University Classic in Bellingham, Washington.

With a top-five team total of 2:38:17 in the 10-km, the UVic men led the 16-team event with 37 points. Three points back was last year’s winner, Alaska Anchorage. The women finished their 6-km event in fourth place with 90 points and a team time of 1:54:26.

The Vikes men raced as a pack for the majority of the 10-km and their top four runners came in a mere five seconds apart. The best individual finish for the Vikes men came from second-year Ryan Cassidy (Grande-Digue, NB), who crossed the line in second place with a 10-km time of 31:31. Coming in at 31:32, in third place, was fellow Vike Doug Oxland (Nanaimo, BC). Other Vikes with top-20 finishes were Forrest Simpson (Nanaimo, B.C.) at sixth with a time of 31:34, Dylan Haight (Victoria, BC) eighth with 31:36 and Patrick Psotka (Victoria, B.C.) 32:34 at eighteenth.

“The guys ran awesome for where they are right now,” said Vikes cross country head coach Brent Fougner. “Running in that tight pack is what we’re going to need in order to knock anyone off at the CIS competition in November.”

The women finished fourth in the 6-km event, five points shy of fellow Canadian team third-place Simon Fraser University. Leading the Vikes with an individual time of 22:11, Madeline MacDonald (Calgary, AB) crossed the finish line in sixth while rookie Alison Hooper (Victoria, BC) finished 12th with a time of 22:32. 800-m track specialist Kendra Pomfret (Roberts Creek, BC) also placed in the top-20 with a time of 22:49 and coming in 17th.

Next up for the Vikes’ men’s and women’s cross country teams is a trip to Corvallis, Oregon, Oct. 19, to compete in the Beaver Classic.