(ISN) – VICTORIA – It was a golden day for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s track team on Day 1 of the Canada West Track and Field Championships hosted in Winnipeg, Man. Veteran Thomas Riva successfully reclaimed his Canada West title in the 1000-m event, last won in 2013, and this year added to that victory by breaking the 19-year-old conference record. Riva also anchored the Vikes to gold in the 4×800-m relay, where the team bested the Canada West record, previously held by the 2009 Vikes team.
Riva, the reigning Canada West Outstanding Track performer, stole the show in the 1000-m clocking in at 2:22.84 to beat 1996 conference record held by Manitoba’s Daryl Fillion (2:23.03). Riva was out in front of teammate Cole Peterson, who finished second in 2:24.58, as well as Declan White of Trinity Western (2:25.71). This is the third Canada West gold medal for Riva in this event after previously winning in 2012 and 2013, while finishing second in 2014.
“Thomas demonstrated tonight that he is one of the best male Vikes in the history of our program,” said an elated Brent Fougner, head coach of the Vikes. “Thomas lead the Vikes to one of our best-ever first days at this conference event and he smashed a 19-year-old record and anchored our relay team another. It was such an exceptional performance and day for this team and program.”
Freshman Nick Taylor was the sole Vike competing in the 300-m dash and the Victoria native made a good showing qualifying for the finals and finish sixth overall in 34.94. Saskatchewan’s Graham Black took gold in 34.15, while Spartans runner Nathan George as second in 34.17.
Fourth-year Vike Jackson Bocksnick was just shy of the podium in the 3000-m finishing fourth overall behind first-place Regina Cougar Matt Johnson (8:17.13), silver medalist and Calgary Dino Alex James (8:18.88) and bronze medallist and TWU Spartan Joel De Schiffart (8:25.36). Rookie Ben Weir finished seventh (8:36.14), while Matt Noseworthy and Derrick Evans finished 15th and 16th, respectively.
The final event of the night was the 4×800-m relay and the Vikes not only defended their 2014 gold-medal win but crushed a conference record, previously held by 2009 Vikes Darren Mazzei, Geoff Martinson, Clifford Childs and Logan Burke (7:35.71). This year’s Vikes contingent crossed in 7:35.64 for gold, while Calgary (7:40.75) and Alberta (7:44.24) followed for silver and bronze, respectively.
Despite not having any athletes competing in field events the Vikes are currently fourth in the men’s standings with 26 points, while Manitoba lead with 37 points and Calgary follows with 33 and Trinity Western have 29.
The Vikes men will be back on the track tomorrow, Feb. 28, for the 600-m, 1500-m and 4×400-m relays. Live broadcast is available at canadawest.tv while live results are available here.
End of Day 1 – Men’s Team Standings
1. Manitoba – 37 points
2. Calgary – 33 points
3. Trinity Western – 29 points
4. Victoria – 26 points
5. Regina – 23 points
5. Saskatchewan – 23 points
7. Alberta – 12 points
8. Lethbridge – 11 points
UVIC VIKES RESULTS – Day 1
1st – Thomas Riva (2:22.84)
2nd – Cole Peterson (2:24.58)
8th – Tyler Smith (2:31.40)
11th – Isaac Penner (2:33.12)
13th – Trevor Schiavone (2:33.39)
4th – Jackson Bocksnick (8:27.11)
7th – Ben Weir (8:36.14)
15th – Matt Noseworthy (8:50.24)
16th – Derrick Evans (8:59.66)
Men – 4×800 Meter Relay
1st – University of Victoria 7:35.64. (New CW Champ record)