Smith joins veterans Riva, Francois for international meet

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Aug 7,2014(ISN) – VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes track trio of Rachel Francois, Tyler
Smith and Thomas Riva have been racing and training all through the summer and will
be continuing their campaign as they are set to compete for Canada in the North
American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships from Aug.
8-10 in Kamloops, B.C.

Riva aced the 800-m final at the Victoria International Track Classic in June to
qualify, and the following week, Smith crossed the line at the Edmonton Track
Classic to qualify in the same event with time of 1:50.96. The Vikes teammates are
the two lone Canadians racing in the men’s 800-m, while three-time CIS 600-m
champion François will compete in the women’s 4×400-m relay.

But unlike Riva and Francois who both competed at the previous NACAC U23
championships held in Guanajuato, Mexico, this will be the first appearance for
Smith at an NACAC event.

“It will be a battle”, said Smith, who enters his second year with the Vikes this
fall. “However, I still have the opportunity to be one of the top finishers in the
800-m final. The first time I represented Canada was at the World Youth event in
France where I made a Canadian record in the 800-m. .Back then I felt on top of the
world and I hope I can get that feeling back.”

Despite the excitement, the trio has hardly had any time to rest due to the
numerous competitions they have raced in this summer.

“I’ve never trained like this, I feel like I have been living out of a suitcase for
four months”, said Smith.

“Everything I do throughout the year leads up to the summer season, so it’s really
the most fun for me,” adds Francois, whose summer competitions took her through
Canada, USA and Europe. “I get to travel all around the world and race, so to me,
it’s heaven. After the summer, I’m going to take a break to reset, but the fall is
when I’ll start everything over again to build up for next year”.

At the previous NACAC’s in 2012, Riva placed fifth and Francois finished third in
their respective 800-m events.

“The race was tough, it was at 7000 ft. altitude and I definitely think I under
performed for how fit I was. I came away with third, but I knew there was more
there”, said Francois.

“Track is a about what you can do and you are 100% accountable to yourself. When
you’re on a national team, everyone really comes together and feeds off each
other’s energy. Any chance to represent this country is important to me”, she
added.

Earlier this week Francois won an 800-m event in Seattle and finished in her
third-fastest time this season.

The three-day championship starts Aug. 8 at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, B.C.

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