Riva finishes third and Francois takes fourth in 800-m

By Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – University of Victoria Vikes track athletes had strong showings at the 27th Annual Victoria Track Classic hosted at Centennial Stadium. Featuring 15 different events, fans filled the stands to watch track and field athletes try to qualify for international events. Thomas Riva and Rachel Francois were the top Vikes finishers with Riva finishing third and Francois in fourth in their respective 800-m events.

It was a pretty big night for four-time defending CIS 600-m champion Francois who was going into the race with hopes of capturing a spot on the Canadian national team. Francois ran the National Track League (NTL) 800-m event in a time of 2:02.25 to cross the line in fourth-place. Fellow Canadians Fiona Benson and Melissa Bishop came in first and second, respectively in identical times of 2:01.02 with only nanoseconds separating them.

“That was one of Rachel’s best races that I’ve seen,” said Vikes track head coach Brent Fougner. ” We’ve been working on a better finish and she did exactly that. It was really exciting because it looked like she could have won the race.”

In the women’s 1500-m, fourth-year Shauna McInnis crossed the line in a time of 4:28.38 to finish seventh and was directly followed by fellow teammates Nicole Soderberg in eighth (4:28.49) and Emma Bilbault in tenth (4:40.83).

On the men’s side, the top-finishing runner was UVic male athlete of the year Thomas Riva. Crossing the line in third, he ran a time of 1:48.61 in the NTL 800-m event behind American Joe Abbot (1:47.72) and fellow Canadian Anthony Romaniw (1:47.74).

“Thomas was a little too aggressive early on and paid the price in the last 100-m,”said Fougner. “His main event is the 1500-m and he is within a second of making the national team.”

Fellow Vikes Brendon Restall and Adam Paul-Morris, who will be competing in the FISU Summer Universiade, also raced in the 800-m alongside Riva. Restall finished in fifth with a time of 1:49.04 and Paul-Morris followed in sixth in 1:49.44.

In the developmental 800-m, first-year Isaac Penner crossed the line in third with a time of 1:53.12 while second-year Ben Weir ran the 1500-m national event in a time of 3:53.25 to capture the fifth spot.

Both Francois and Riva have turned down selection for the FISU summer Universiade in hopes of achieving qualifying standards in higher-level competition like the Pan-American Games this summer in Toronto, Ont. or the 2016 Olympics in Rio. They have one final chance to qualify for the national team, as they will join a contingent of Vikes athletes competing in the Portland Track Festival, thisSunday, June 14. For more information on the Portland Track Festival, click here.


Rachel Francois (4th, 2:02. 25)
Nicole Soderberg (8th, 4:28.49)
Shauna McInnis (7th, 4:28.38)
Emma Bibault (10th, 4:40.83)
Thomas Riva (3rd, 1:48.61)
Brendon Restall (5th, 1:49.04)
Adam Paul-Morris (6th, 1:49.44)
800-m development:
Isaac Penner (3rd, 1:53.12)
1500- m:
Ben Weir (5th, 3:52.25)

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