by Kendra Pomfret, Vikes Communications
February 21, 2014, Alberta (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes track team performed commendably on day one of competition at the Canada West Track & Field Championships at the University of Alberta, earning seven medals and two CIS auto qualification standards.
Highlighting the day’s events were both the men’s and women’s 4×800-metre teams, dominating their fields to successfully defend both Canada West titles.
The Vikes women’s team, comprised of Nicole Soderberg, Grace Annear, Jenica Moore, and Rachel Francois raced to a comfortable 8:55.24 first-place finish, fourteen seconds ahead of second-place Trinity Western Spartans. This was the women’s fourth consecutive conference win since 2011. They have now qualified for the CIS championships March 6-8th, where they will look to repeat as national champions from 2013.
Similarly, the Vikes men raced unchallenged from start to finish. Brendon Restall, Cole Peterson, Olivier Collin and Tyler Smith held a significant gap on the remaining field, racing a tranquil time of 7:37.23. The men are currently ranked No. 1 in CIS and will certainly arrive hungry for the CIS title in two weeks time.
Perhaps the most entertaining race of the day was the men’s 1000-metre, won by the University of Calgary’s Brad Bickley in a personal best time of 2:23.94, just nudging out fourth-year Vike, Thomas Riva (2:23.97). Riva was followed closely by teammates Olivier Collin, and Cole Peterson placing second, third, and fourth respectively. Collin, took control of the race from the gun, leading the men through 800-metres. It was then Bickly and Riva who battled out the bell lap neck and neck, with the fifth-year Dino taking top honours.
The women’s 1000-metre winner, Jenna Westaway, also from the University of Calgary, proved to be uncontestable as she raced to a new Canada West Record of 2:44.55, nearly three seconds ahead of second-place Spartan Sarah Inglis and Fiona Benson, third. The previous Canada West Record was held by Vikes Alumni, Trish Fougner (nee Wellman) from 1988 in a time of 2:45.10. Vikes Shauna McInnis (2:51.67), Grace Annear (2:53.80), and Nicole Soderberg (2:57.63) placed sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.
Rounding out the Vikes medal count, Seniors Karl Robertson and Kyle Irvine raced admirably, moving up from their usual middle distance events to the men’s 3000-metre where they placed second and third overall. Robertson, who did not previously have CIS standard, raced to a new personal best time of 8:28.51, and has now punched his ticket to nationals Mar. 6. Irvine was close behind, also running a personal best of 8:29.44. Third-year teammate Patrick Psotka placed fifth in 8:33.16.
Fifth-year Maddy MacDonald earned a bronze medal in the women’s 3000-metre, though the accomplishment was bittersweet. MacDonald ran strong from start to finish, keeping contact with lead runner, Alison Jackson from Trinity Western, and pulling away from the remaining pack in the last 800-metres. Unfortunately, Trinity’s Regan Yee (10:14.02) exerted a killer kick in the last 60-metres to take silver, unexpectedly swiping MacDonald’s (10:14.11) auto-qualification to CIS Nationals. MacDonald, a true competitor will come back hungry tomorrow in the women’s 1500-metre. Sophomore, Jenna Van Vliet also raced well, finishing fourth (10:21.63) in her first ever indoor 3000-metre, followed by rookie Brittany King who placed fifth with a time of 10:31.00.
Both men’s and women’s teams will be back in action tomorrow on day two of the Canada West Track & Field Championships competing in the 600, 1500, 4×400, and potentially 4×200-metre distances. Follow live coverage at www.canadawest.tv or on Twitter: @trackthevikes.