by Kendra Pomfret, Vikes Communications
March 7, 2014, Edmonton (ISN) – Fourth-year University of Victoria Vike Thomas Riva illustrated a work of art on the evening of March 7, winning the men’s 1000-metre CIS National title in perfect form at the CIS National Championships in Edmonton, Alta.
Riva, the Canada West Male Track Athlete of the Year ran a tactically smart race off the gun, positioning himself tightly against the inside rail amongst the top five competitors. Remaining calm in the incredibly aggressive race, Riva broke away with 300-metres to go and did not look back. Extending his lead on the final bell lap, Guelph’s Anthony Romaniw attempted a challenge, but Riva held his ground crossing the line in 2:25.16 for his first ever individual CIS gold medal. Romaniw followed in second place (2:25.35), and Windsor Lancer’s Alex Ullman took third (2:25.37).
On the women’s side, a similarly pushy race took place, which ended in a disqualification from the CIS rookie of the year, Katelyn Ayers from the University of Guelph, who originally placed first in front of Trinity Western’s, Fiona Benson. Benson thus took top honours, winning CIS gold in 2:50.97
Vike Nicole Soderberg placed fifth in a time of 2:52.97.
Just a few hours later, Soderberg led off in the women’s 4×800-metre relay alongside teammates Shauna McInnis, Grace Annear, and Rachel Francois to successfully defend their CIS National title for the second consecutive year. Clocking in at a new personal best time of 8:42, the women narrowly missed the 1988 CIS Record (8:41.66) set by UVic alumna Trish Fougner (nee Wellmann), Tanya Jones, Brenda Shakleton, and Robyn Meagher.
With all four women returning to competition next year, the Vikes will certainly continue to battle this longstanding record and inter team alumni rival.
On the men’s side, Brendon Restall ran a respectable lead off leg splitting 1:54 to hand off in first to teammate Olivier Collin. Collin maintained the lead to remain in the top position, though pressure began to arise from the University of Windsor Lancers, who ultimately took the lead over rookie Tyler Smith. Riva anchored the men’s team to a bittersweet National silver, earning his second medal of the day.
The final day of competition at the CIS National Championships wraps up tomorrow afternoon at the University of Alberta. Vikes highlights will include 600-metre finalists Rachel Francois, Grace Annear, Brendon Restall and Tyler Smith; 1500-metre competitors Thomas Riva, Olivier Collin, Kyle Irvine, Cole Peterson, and Shauna McInnis; and both men’s and women’s 4×400-metre teams.