Riva, Francois shine as Canada West Stars of the Week

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(ISN) – Two University of Victoria Vikes track athletes have been honoured as Canada West Stars of the Week after their performances this past weekend. Fifth year Thomas Riva was named the conference 2nd Star of the Week while fourth year Rachel Francois earned 3rd Star of the Week.

Second Star: Thomas Riva, Victoria (Track)

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.

Following the two-day Championship Riva was again named Canada West male Track Athlete of the Year and was honoured with Male Performance of the Meet. Riva is also an automatic Canada West First Team All-Star and will look to defend his 1000-m gold-medal title at the CIS level.

Canada West honoured Alberta’s Mike Asselstine (wrestling) as 1st Star of the Week and Lethbridge’s Peter Millman (Field) as the conference 3rd Star of the Week for men’s sport.

Third Star: Rachel Francois, Victoria (Track)

The University of Victoria Vikes women’s track team finished tied for fifth at the Canada West Track & Field Championship despite having no field athletes competing. Their strong performance was largely due to the efforts of fourth-year Vike Rachel Francois who picked up two individual gold medals and a gold and bronze with relay teams.

Francois was named the 2015 Canada West Track female Athlete of the Year for her strong performance. The three-time defending CIS 600-m champion reclaimed gold in the Canada West 600-m event on Day 2 of the championship finishing in 1:30.17. Francois won the event at the conference level in her rookie season in 2012 but has since had to settle for second place in both 2013 and 2014. Before reclaiming gold in the 600-m event Francois raced to gold a day previous in the 1000-m. The St. Albert, Alta. native won gold in her first time competing in this distance in a time of 2:45.32.

Francois also anchored the Vikes women’s 4×800-m relay team on Day 1 to their fifth-straight gold medal. The team of Shauna McInnis, Kendra Pomfret, Nicole Soderberg and Francois won in 8:46.91 and set a new Canada West record.

The Vikes 4×400-m relay team also got on the podium as Francois anchored the team to a bronze medal in 3:53.65.

Following this weekend’s performance Francois now totals 13 Canada West medals, eight of which are gold, while the four-time Canada West First Team All-Star will be one to watch at the CIS Championships as she looks to defend the 600-m title for the fourth-consecutive year.

Canada west also honoured this week for women’s sports Trinity Western’s Nikki Cornwall (volleyball) and Alberta’s Hayley Thomas (wrestling), who both earned the conference 1st Star and 2nd Star of the Week respectively.

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