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)
Isaac Penner (3rd, 1:53.12)
Ben Weir (5th, 3:52.25)