By Elizabeth Chan, Vikes Communications

(ISN) – VICTORIA – A total of 23 University of Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s track athletes are set to compete at the Washington Dempsey Indoor facility in Seattle for the annual Husky Classic on Feb. 14 and the UW Open on Feb. 15.

“Our athletes will be mixing with some of the best at [the Husky Classic],” said Brent Fougner, Vikes track head coach. “And it’s who you race with that brings out your fastest performance.”

The Husky Classic is one of the most competitive and most attended meets in the entire collegiate indoor season.

Standouts for this weekend include fifth year Thomas Riva on the men’s team. The 2014 1000-m CIS gold medallist hit a personal best in the mile (4:00.06) on Jan. 31 at the UW Invitational, automatically qualifying for the CIS, but he was aiming to run under four minutes. This weekend, he’ll have another shot at improving his time in the mile.

Also in the middle distance races is third year Cole Peterson, who is just seconds away from qualifying for the CIS national championships hosted in Windsor, Ont. this coming March. The Edmonton native will be looking to outbest his 2:26.29 record set at the Golden Bear Open in Alberta on Jan. 24 in the 1000-m and make the 2:25.16 CIS cut.

“Cole is very fit right now as he’s had some of the best workouts leading up to this meet,” said Fougner. “Qualifying Nicole Soderberg to the CIS is also one of our goals.”

Competing on the women’s team is senior Kendra Pomfret who, like Riva, recently raced a personal best in the mile (4:44.44) at the UW Invitational. She too will be looking to peak in the mile and 1000-m distance.

Fourth year Rachel Francois will be racing in just her second meet of the year as a Vike as she is currently balancing training with UVic and Team Canada. For her, achieving the 800-m race under 2:04 this weekend will punch her ticket to the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas this May.

“This will be a fast track where the athletes have to work on tactics and pace themselves in the middle distances,” added Fougner.

Both meets will mark the final competition before the Vikes travel to Winnipeg for the Canada West Track and Field Championship on Feb. 27 and the CIS national championships on Mar. 12 in Windsor.

Races begin Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. and end around 6 p.m. with live results available at trackie.ca.

Vikes Men – Travelling Roster
Brendon Restall – 400-m, 600-m
Nicholas Taylor – 400-m
Adam Gaudes – 600-m, 800-m
Adam Paul-Morris – 600-m, 800-m
Isaac Penner – 800-m, 1000-m
Tyler Smith – 600-m, 800-m
Cole Peterson – mile, 1000-m
Thomas Riva – mile, 1000-m
Cody Therrien – mile, 3000-m
Trevor Schiavone – 1000-m
Jackson Bocksnick – 3000-m
Matt Noseworthy – 3000-m
Ben Weir – 3000-m
Derrick Evans – 3000-m

Vikes Women – Travelling Roster
Rachel Francois – 800-m, 1000-m
Nicole Soderberg – 800-m, 1000-m
Shauna McInnis – mile, 1000-m
Kendra Pomfret – mile, 1000-m
Chloe Hegland – 3000-m, mile
Caroline Harrell – 600-m
Andrea Robinson – 600-m
Gemma Moran – 600-m
Emma Bibault – 3000-m

List of CIS qualifiers

Vikes Men
Thomas Riva – 1500-m
Olivier Collin – 3000-m

4×400-m Relay
4×800-m Relay

Vikes Women
Rachel Francois – 600-m, 1000-m
Kendra Pomfret – 1500-m
Shauna McInnis – 1500-m