VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes track team has their sights set on Regina as they prepare for their final meet before the national championships. The Vikes will take part in the Canada West Track and Field Championship at the Regina Field House in Regina, Sask. on February 24 and 25.
22 Vikes in total, 15 men and seven women, will make the trip with an array of goals on their minds.
For those Vikes yet to qualify for the U SPORTS National Championship, this will be their final opportunity to book their ticket to Edmonton, where nationals will be held from March 9-11.
For the Vikes that have already posted qualifying times, this weekend will be a combination of continuing to work on race tactics, while also trying to give the veterans a great end to their Canada West careers.
“For our fifth-years this is their last conference meet, so it’s important for them leave, like they have before, with a few a medals around their neck,” said Fougner. “The goal is to send our graduating athletes off in a positive way and for some of the younger athletes to get great experience and possibly qualify for nationals.
About the Event
Unique among the meets the Vikes attend, the Canada West Championship always brings a fun atmosphere that encourages teams to get loud for one another.
“It’s not very often in an individual sport you can say that we’re a team, but this weekend is about supporting each other, getting out to the track and getting behind your teammates,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “It’s probably the most exciting track meet that we go to every year because the team concept is so key, for a smaller team we hold our own.”
The composition of the track inside the Regina Field House will also play a key role in the meet.
“Regina has a very fast track, the surface is very firm on it and that takes a toll on people’s legs so we are not going to over-race people this weekend,” said Fougner. “I think we’ll see some fast races, we’ve always done well in Regina.”
Both the men’s and women’s 4×800-metre relay teams led the Vikes at last year’s Canada West Championship, winning gold in Saskatoon. Tyler Smith, Isaac Penner, Thomas Oxland and Brendon Restall all return for the Vikes from that golden team, while Andrea Robinson is the lone returnee on from the women’s side.
Last Time Out
The Vikes appear to be peaking at just the right time with a number of personal best times being posted two weeks ago in Seattle.
Fourth-year Vike Tyler Smith had one of the strongest turnouts of the weekend, auto-qualifying for the national championship in both the 1000-metre and 600-metre after finishing fourth and second, respectively. He is now ranked first in U SPORTS in the 600-metre and second in the 1000-metre.
Rookie Alyssa Mousseau stood out on the women’s side, running personal bests in the 800- and 600-metre events. Mousseau finished fourth against tough competition in the 600-metre, good enough to launch her into the top-ten in U SPORTS rankings.
Brent Fougner, Vikes head coach
“For some people this is their championship. Not everybody is going to qualify for nationals or if they are, it’s going to happen this weekend. For some of the veterans it will be another meet where we can work on our race tactics.
“It’s very different than nationals where it becomes more individual. Canada West is a tight-knit community, so they all know each other and it’s going to be a lot of fun this weekend. We will work hard and come out with hopefully a few more people qualifying.”
Rachel Francois (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Julia Greer (4×800-m, 1500-m)
Chloe Hewitt (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Alyssa Mousseau (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Andrea Robinson (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Elena Savidge (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Andie Wood (1500-m, 3000-m)
Derrick Evans (1500-m, 3000-m)
Chet Goerzen (1500-m, 3000-m)
Brendan Hoff (1500-m, 3000-m)
Josh Kozelj (1500-m, 3000-m)
Timothy Longley (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Alexander Nemethy (1500-m, 3000-m)
Matt Noseworthy (1500-m, 3000-m)
Thomas Oxland (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Isaac Penner (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Cole Peterson (4×800-m, 1000-m, 1500-m)
Bronson Reid (4×400-m, 600-m)
Brendon Restall (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Max Serviss (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Tyler Smith (4×400-m, 4×800-m, 600-m)
Ben Weir (1500-m, 3000-m)