By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes track team are set to compete in their final meet before national championship qualification. This weekend, Feb. 26-27, the Vikes head to Saskatoon, Sask. to compete in the Huskies-hosted Canada West Track and Field Championship at the Saskatoon Field House. Head coach Brent Fougner will send five women and 12 men to the two-day championship.
In 2015 the Vikes had a lot of success finishing fourth overall for the men and fifth for the women. The women brought home gold in the 600m, 1000m and 4x800m relay and added bronze medals in the 600m and 1000m. The Vikes men won gold in the 1000m and 4x800m relay and picked up silver medals in the 600m, 1000m and 4x400m events. Last year’s success will not be a clear depiction of this year’s results as the Vikes will race this season without the CIS All-Canadian talents of veteransThomas Riva, Adam Paul-Morris and Rachel Francois, the main medal winners from 2015.
Despite the lack of medal-winning returnees, the young Vikes contingent still boast the talents of fifth year Shauna McInnis who is set to compete in the women’s 1500m and 4x800m events. In 2015 McInnis was one of four Canada West First Team All-Stars after the Vikes won gold and set a new conference record in the 4x800m relay, while defending Victoria’s hold on the title for the fifth-straight season in a row. McInnis also raced to a 2015 Canada West bronze medal in the 1000m. At the 2015 CIS Championship McInnis finished 10th in the 1500m and helped the Vikes earn a CIS silver in the 4x800m relay.
The Vikes will also send Caroline Harrell, Chloe Hegland, Andrea Robinson and rookie Vanessa Sjoberg to this weekend’s championship. Harrell, Robinson and Sjoberg will combine with McInnis to race the 4x800m relay. First year Sjoberg is expected to do well in the 600m event.
On the men’s side the Vikes will rely up on the veteran experience of fourth year Brendon Restall who will compete in the 600m and 4x800m relay. Restall is one of the most experienced on the men’s track team after helping the Vikes win a Canada West silver in the 4×400-m relay in 2015, while earning a bronze in the 600m event himself. At the 2015 CIS championship Restall was sixth overall in the 600m.
Joining Restall on the men’s side will be three other fourth year runners including Cody Therrien,Cole Peterson and Shoayb Bascal. Therrien will race the 1500m and 3000m events, while Peterson, recently back from injury, will fompete in the 1000m and 1500m. Bascal, who transferred this year from the University of Findlay, enters this weekend as a 2015 CIS cross-country national champion but will try his distance talents in the 1500m and 3000m events. Another notable to look out for is rookie Ryan Korol, who will race the 600m and team up with Thomas Oxland, Tyler Smith and Restall in the 4x800m relay.
The Vikes will be in Saskatoon on Feb. 25 for a training day and are set to get right into competition on Feb. 26 and 27. Friday events begin at 2:00 p.m. CST and run until 8:30 p.m. CST, while Saturday’s events will run 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. Awards will follow Saturday’s finals.
Friday events include finals for the 1000m, 3000m and 4x800m relay, while Saturday events will feature the 600m, 1000m, 1500m and 4x400m relay. For live results visit trackie.ca, while the event will be potentially webcasted on pay-per-view live at canadawest.tv.
VIKES WOMEN’S TRACK ROSTER
Caroline Harrell (600m, 4x800m)
Chloe Hegland (3000m)
Shauna McInnis (1500m, 4x800m)
Andrea Robinson (600m, 1000m, 4x800m)
Vanessa Sjoberg (600m, 4x800m)
VIKES MEN’S TRACK ROSTER
Ben Weir (1500m, 3000m)
Brendon Restall (600m, 4x800m)
Cody Therrien (1500m, 3000m)
Cole Peterson (1000m, 1500m)
Isaac Penner (600m, 1000m)
Max Serviss (600m, 1000m)
Peter Oxland (1000m, 1500m)
Ryan Korol (600m, 4x800m)
Shoayb Bascal (1500m, 3000m)
Thomas Oxland (600m, 4x800m)
Timothy Longley (1000m)
Tyler Smith (600m, 4x800m)