By Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA – As if one couldn’t see it coming fourth-year University of Victoria Vikes track sensation Rachel Francois steered the Victoria women to the top of the podium twice on Day 1 of the Canada West Track and Field Championship hosted Feb. 27-28 in Winnipeg, Man. The Alberta native claimed her first gold in the 1000-m event and later helped the Vikes’ 4×800-m relay team take gold and crush a 2013 Canada West record.
Francois finished first overall in the 1000-m in 2:45.32 ahead of Trinity Western’s Sarah Inglis (2:45.55). A trio of Vikes followed with Nicole Soderberg winning bronze (2:47.12) and Kendra Pomfret and Shauna McInnis taking fourth and fifth, respectively. Pomfret, who returns after a year off from injury, is a previous medalist in the Canada West 1000-m, winning bronze in 2013 and gold in 2012.
“Rachel really stepped outside her comfort zone tonight by winning the 1000m,” said Brent Fougner, head coach of the Vikes track program. “This was a distance that she rarely races and to win that one and then cap off the evening anchoring the relay team to a conference record, it was truly an incredible day.”
In the 3000-m race, second year Emma Bibault finished fourth overall in 9:53.99. A competitive field saw Calgary’s Sarah MacArthur take gold in 9:37.26, while Alberta’s Danielle Thiel (9:44.59) took silver and Manitoba’s Rebeka Sass (9:52.98) took bronze. First year Vike Chloe Hegland finished behind Bibault in fifth spot in 9:58.95.
Rookie Caroline Harrell was the lone Vike competing in the 300-m dash and despite not qualifying for the finals finished her preliminary race in 42.73.
In the final women’s race the Vikes won their fifth-straight 4×800-m title and also broke the conference record. This year’s relay team crossed in 8:46.91 for gold to beat out the record set in 2013 by Vikes Grace Annear, Jennica Moore, Pomfret and Francois. Trinity Western took silver in 8:52.27, while Alberta finished in 9:04.07 for bronze.
The Vikes will return to the track tomorrow, Feb. 28, for the 600-m, 1500-m and 4×400-m relays. Events will be broadcast live on canadawest.tv and live results are available here.
UVIC VIKES RESULTS – DAY 1
1st – Rachel Francois (2:45.32)
3rd – Nicole Soderberg (2:47.12)
4th – Kendra Pomfret (2:48.60)
5th – Shauna McInnis (2:50.33)
13th – Andrea Robinson (3:02.90)
4th – Emma Bibault (9:53.99)
5th – Chloe Hegland (9:58.95)
1st – University of Victoria (8:46.91) New CW Champ record