Riva, Francois highlight Vikes roster at 2014 CIS Championship

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by Kendra Pomfret, with files from CIS

March 4, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – Thirteen athletes from The University of Victoria Vikes track team are heading back to the University of Alberta this week for the 2014 CIS National Championships, March 6-8.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE /  LIVE RESULTS  / LIVE STREAM

After a successful weekend at the Canada West Championships, Feb. 20-21where the Vikes struck gold in both men’s and women’s 4×400 and 4×800-metre distances, and fourth year standout Thomas Riva was named Canada West Male Track Athlete of the Year, the Vikes are looking for continued triumph this weekend at the CIS National Championships. 

2012 CIS Rookie of the year, Rachel Francois will be looking to defend her third consecutive CIS title in the women’s 600-metre this weekend, a challenging feat which has yet to be accomplished in Vikes History. Francois is ranked first in the current CIS predictions with her personal best time of 1:29.38. “Winning the 600 would mean so much. There have been a lot of obstacles to overcome in the past year so it would mean the world to have it come together this weekend” Francois remarked. Francois is followed closely by teammate and stiff competitor, Grace Annear who ranks third in the Nation with a personal best of 1:30.18.

Both Annear and Francois will additionally power the Vikes relays in 4×800 and 4×400-metre distances.

Soderberg, will be the lone Vike in the women’s 1000-metre, coming off a personal best indoor time in the 800-metre of 2:07.08. 

McInnis will additionally compete in the women’s 1500-metre race ranked 5th in 4:28.16. 

On the men’s side, Riva will highlight the individual performances in the men’s 1000 and 1500-metre distances. The Canada West Male Track Athlete of the Year is ranked third in the 1000-metre behind University of Toronto’s, Sacha Smart (2nd) and Ottawa GG’s, Mohamed Souleiman (1st). Riva ranks fifth in the men’s 1500-metre CIS rankings alongside teammates Kyle Irvine, Olivier Collin, and Cole Peterson. 

“I am very excited about this coming weekend and the teams prospects of bringing home medals,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “There is our traditional focus on the relays but we also have depth at the top of the rankings in the men’s and women’s 600m. Individually we are looking for veterans Riva and Francois to lead us this weekend but I believe the team will surprise the competition with results from our younger team members such as Restall and Smith.”

Alberta native, Karl Robertson will race the men’s 3000-metre after his second place finish at Canada West Championships. 

In the 600-metre distance, third year Brendon Restall will be a dark horse after his Canada West title and new personal best seed time of 1:18.76, ranking him second in the country behind University of Sherbrooke’s Mathieu Sturkenboom (1:17.95). Close behind is rookie sensation teammate, Tyler Smith ranked fourth in the CIS in 1:19.14 and Senior Jon Pratt ranked fifth (1:19.22). 

The men’s 4×800-metre team will be fighting to earn back their CIS title. The Vikes won five consecutive titles from 2008-2012, with an unfortunate fourth place finish in 2013. The Vikes are the top-ranked team in the country with a seasonal best time of 7:34.54. 

The Vikes men’s 4×400-metre team, lead by Riva and Smith rank fifth in a time of 3:17.75. 

“Too regain our dominance of the men’s 4×800 relay is a huge team goal this year,” said Fougner. “With the depth of this event across the country I predict winning team will walk away with the CIS record set in 1995 by Manitoba.  It could be the race of the weekend.”

Competition for the Vikes at the 2014 CIS National Championships take place Mar. 6-8.

VIKES SCHEDULE

Mar. 6

  • 7:30 pm W 600m heats  (Rachel Francois and Grace Annear)
  • 7:45 pm M 600m heats (Brendon Restall, Tyler Smith and John Pratt)

Mar. 7

  • 5:00 pm – W 1000m (Nicole Soderberg)
  • 5:10 pm – M 1000m (Thomas Riva)
  • 6:50 pm – M 3000m (Karl Robertson)
  • 8:00 pm – W 4×800 
  • 8:15 pm – M 4×800

Mar. 8

  • 1:15 pm  W 600m final  (Rachel Francois and Grace Annear)
  • 1:30 pm M 600m final (Brendon Restall, Tyler Smith and John Pratt)
  • 2:45 pm W 1500m final (Shauna McInnis)
  • 3:00 pm M 1500m final (Kyle Irvine,Thomas Riva,Olivier Collin,Cole Peterson)
  • 4:00 pm W 4 x 400m 
  • 4:15 pm – M 4 x 400m 

WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD RANKINGS

(points) / (previous rankings)

  • 1. Calgary 96 points / (1)
  • 2. Guelph 82.5 / (2)
  • 3. Trinity Western 80 / (3)
  • 4. Saskatchewan 64.5 / (4)
  • 5. Toronto 62 / (5)
  • 6. Western 55 / (6)
  • 7. York 46 / (7)
  • 8. Victoria 41 / (9)
  • 9. Windsor 34.5 / (8)
  • 10. Queen’s 16 / (NR)

MEN’S TRACK & FIELD RANKINGS

(points) / (previous rankings)

  • T1. York 90.5 points / (1)
  • T1. Guelph 90.5 / (2)
  • 3. Sherbrooke 64.5 / (3)
  • 4. Windsor 62 / (4)
  • 5. Regina 45 / (7)
  • 6. Victoria 44.5 / (5)
  • 7. Toronto 42 / (8)
  • 8. Trinity Western 35 / (10)
  • 9. Western 31 / (9)
  • 10. Laval 30 / (6)

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