Tale of the Weekend

VICTORIA—The Vikes men’s and women’s cross country teams get the opportunity to stay on Vancouver Island this weekend, after back-to-back trips across the border for the first two meets of their season. 

The teams will head to Nanaimo to compete in the B.C. Provincial Cross Country Championships on October 29.

Competing at the event will be a mixture of both the top club and university runners in the province. The high level of competition is sure to give the Vikes a tough test as they prepare for the U Sports cross country championships on November 12.

The Vikes men, the reigning national champions, enter the event ranked No. 3 in the country. The Vikes women meanwhile, are ranked No. 7 in Canada and will get the opportunity to move even higher at the event.

Thompson Rivers, UBC and Trinity Western will be the other the B.C. universities sending teams to the meet and Vikes head coach Brent Fougner is looking forward to the challenge.

“It will be a good test for us against Trinity and UBC for sure and obviously there are some good club athletes as well,” said Fougner.

The battle will also be fierce between the Vikes teammates. With this being the last meet before the national championships, Fougner will be using the results from this event to try and narrow his teams down to the seven men and seven women that will travel to nationals.

“We have slowly been building up the focus of the races and this race for a lot of the athletes will be the biggest race of the season if they don’t get selected to nationals,” said Fougner. “This is their chance to show us that they should be on that squad of seven that make it to nationals.”

Scouting the Course

The race will be run around Beban Park in Nanaimo, the men run 8 km and the women 6 km.

“It’s fairly flat, it has a few pretty sharp turns in it so we are actually going to work on some strategies for how to deal with that today. It goes through a wooded area and then out onto some baseball and soccer fields for the start/finish line. It’ll work for us as far as our final racing selection for nationals,” said Fougner.

Coach’s Take
Brent Fougner, Vikes head coach

“We have seen the team respond to the quality of training we have been doing for the last three weeks so we are pretty excited to see what they can do on the course. Everyone from our veterans right down to our rookies have shown and responded well to the training, even more than we expected, so we are pretty excited about our prospects for this weekend.”

“UBC beat us at Salem and Trinity Western beat us in Bellingham so it is going to be very close between the three of us.”