VICTORIA–The University of Victoria Vikes women’s cross-country team ended their 2016 season as the 9th best team in the nation, a strong performance from a young roster that included just one fifth-year athlete.

Chloe Hegland earned a Canada West Second Team All-Star nod for her outstanding 28th overall and 7th in Canada West performance on the Plains of Abraham at the U Sports National Championship.

Ranked in the U Sports top ten throughout the entire season, head coach Brent Fougner‘s side relied on strong performances from multiple youngsters in his 29th season at the helm.

The youth of the Vikes shined through right from the very beginning of the season. While Hegland and fifth-year Vike Rachel Francois led the way with 10th and 12th place finishes respectively, the team could not have finished fifth overall at the Charles Bowles Classic without the work of three first-years. Julia GreerChloe Hewitt and Alyssa Mousseau all started their university careers with finishes in the top 35.

After another strong showing at the Western Washington Classic, Francois was the top finisher for the Vikes as they came in 8th place, the team returned to Vancouver Island for the B.C. Cross Country Championship hosted in Beban Park, Nanaimo.

Hegland led the way yet again as she finished 11th at Beban Park, going up against the very best runners in the province.  The Vikes finished third in the newly formed University Challenge, being bested by the Trinity Western Spartans and the UBC Thunderbirds. Moran, Mousseau and Andie Woodall posted good times at the event finishing 25th, 27th, and 28th respectively.

The Vikes appear poised to build on the good results they secured in 2016 as they try and assemble a squad that can capture their first national title since 2001.