by Kendra Pomfret, Vikes Communications
February 11, 2014, VICTORIA (ISN) – The Victoria Vikes track team will head south of the boarder one last time this weekend, February 14-15, to compete at the University of Washington Husky Classic inside the Dempsey Field house.
Leading the fleet this weekend is Olivier Collin, a past 1500 metre Canadian National champion, who will be looking to gain the 1000 metre CIS qualification standard of 2:24.99.
After being plagued by continual injuries, Collin will be competing in his first 800 metres in almost four years, this Saturday.
“This weekend is all about fine tuning before heading into conference and CIS,” described Collin. “I’ll be racing my first 800 metre since 2010, I’m pretty excited to see how my body reacts.”
Collin will have to complete the race faster than 1:51.83, which is the converted 1000 metre CIS auto qualification standard. Additional incentive lays on breaking the UVic school record (1:50.38) set by teammate, Thomas Riva in 2013 – a challenge not out of question for Collin. Additional Vikes competing in the 800 metre are Canadian team member, Tyler Smith, and second year Brendon Restall.
Third year Rachel Francois will also be eager to gain back her 2012 school record in the 800 metre, which was recently swiped by teammate, Nicole Soderberg (2:07.08) at the University of Washington Invitational, Feb. 1. Francois, a true racer, is eager to toe the line again.
“I’ve had a solid last couple weeks of training, so it’s finally feeling like things are starting to click,” the two-time CIS All-Canadian remarked. Francois will be joined in the 800 metre by teammate Jenica Moore and Halley Cote.
Fifth year Madeline MacDonald will take another crack at the women’s 3000 metre CIS auto standard (9:45.93), just four seconds faster than her current personal best, 9:50.24. MacDonald will be joined by first year, Savannah Gellner in her first race of the season. On the men’s side, third year Patrick Psotka will also look to improve on his 3000 metre
Jenna Van Vliet, a 2013 Canada West All-Star in cross-country, will be opening her track season in the one mile race. On the men’s side, Karl Robertson will try again for the CIS auto standard (4:08.33).
To date, the Vikes have three relay teams and eleven individuals qualified for CIS National Championships, set for Mar. 6-8 in Alberta.
“This weekend will be our final chance for automatic qualification in the CIS championships,” added Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “For Collin, Robertson, Restall, MacDonald, and Psotka, achieving this status would see one of our deepest and largest teams ever at the Championships.”