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Both Drop National Titles to Powerful Guelph Gryphons

November 10, 2012, London, Ontario – In a meet that held the possibility of two titles, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s cross country teams came away with one of two honours as they both placed first in the Canada West portion of the 2012 CIS Championships, held Saturday in London, Ont.  

Vikes Women

Going into the event the UVic women were ranked number three in the country in the weekly CIS Top 10 poll and as runners up to last year’s national title, the team was gunning for this season’s top honours. However, boasting one of the most successful cross country programs in the country, the Guelph Gryphons won their eighth consecutive national title while the Vikes placed fourth. On the Canada West side of the event, the Vikes earned their second consecutive team title with a points total of 36.

Heading into the CIS Championship the Vikes had shown steady improvement throughout the fall as they built up to a first-place team title at the 2012 Beaver Classic in Corvallis, Ore. Racing the 5-km women’s event fifth-year veteran Brittany Therrien (Victoria, BC) was the Vikes’ first scorer as she placed 15th in a field of 123 runners, just barely missing out on Second Team All-Canadian status. Jenna Van Vliet (Calgary, AB) was the Vikes’ second finish as she crossed the line 23rd overall.

Racing in her first CIS cross country event, Rachel Francois (St. Albert, AB) placed 34th while University of Calgary-transfer Madeline MacDonald (Calgary, AB) and rookie Alison Hooper (Victoria, BC) came in at 44th and 47th, respectively.

In the Canada West portion of the event Therrien came in second, Van Vliet crossed the line sixth, Franois in eighth, and coming in 13th, 14th, and 15th were MacDonald, Hooper, and Stephanie Trenholm (Campbell River, BC).

“It was kind of a disappointment as it wasn’t really what we were capable of,” said Brent Fougner, head coach of the Vikes women’s cross country team. “But those were just the cards that we were dealt today and we did come away with the Canada West title.”

Therrien and Van Vliet both earned Canada West First Team All-Star honours while Francois, MacDonald and Hooper were awarded Canada West Second Team All-Star status.

Next up for the women are the Canadian Championships, Nov. 24 in Vancouver, B.C., their final race of the 2012 cross country season.

Vikes Men

The Victoria Vikes men’s cross country eked out their third consecutive Canada West title. The Vikes men had an exceptional season heading into the Championship, earning three team titles in as many races and ranking second in the nation on the CIS Top Ten poll. Unfortunately, it was a challenging race for the UVic squad and they raced to a fourth-place team finish in the CIS Championship.

Coming in ninth overall, Dylan Haight (Victoria, BC) failed to best last year’s eighth-place finish but claimed silver medal honours in the Canada West conference race. Ryan Cassidy (Grande-Digue, NB) crossed the line just behind Haight for a tenth-place CIS finish and a third-place Canada West finish. Both men won Second Team All-Canadian honours as well as Canada West First Team All-Star status.

Fourth-year Doug Oxland (Nanaimo, BC) finished the race 21st in the CIS and 6th in Canada West to be named a Canada West First Team All-Star while Thomas Riva (Qualicum, BC) and Forrest Simpson (Nanaimo, B.C.) rounded out the crew of scorers with CIS finishes of 42nd and 54th and 11th and 14th in Canada West, respectively. Both Riva and Simpson earned Canada West Second Team All-Star honours.

“It was a tough course and today just wasn’t our day,” said head coach of the Vikes men’s cross country team, Brent Fougner. “They battled up front but unfortunately the gap between our one to five runners was just not good enough for a medal.”

The final meet of the season for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s cross country team will be the Canadian Championships, Nov. 24, in Vancouver, B.C.