VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes cross country teams just keep building momentum ahead of the U SPORTS National Championships as the women defeated all challengers and the men finished second at the B.C. Provincial Championships in Abbottsford on Oct. 28.

“This is a great confidence booster for our teams leading into the U SPORTS Championships in two weeks,” said Vikes assistant coach Hilary Stellingwerff.

Finishing nine points clear of the second place Trinity Western Spartans in the university team competition, the Vikes women utilized great depth to have four runners in top 25 at the meet that featured both university and club athletes.

Alison Hooper led the way for the Vikes as the third-year athlete from Victoria crossed the line 12th overall.

“I’m really happy with last two km,” said Hooper. “I hung tough and focused on that third lap, which will actually be the middle part of my race in two weeks and I want to focus on it and be tough at the U SPORTS Championship. I could not be prouder of our team today, everyone stepped up and ran well to help us get the win.”

Emma Edmonds was right on Hooper’s heels to finish in 13th while Chloe Hegland and Emma Bibaultcame across the line in 18th and 25th respectively.

The Vikes men finished the day tied with the UBC T-Birds on points but finished in second spot due to the tie-breaker of count back on runners.

First-year Vike Brandon Vail was the top finisher for the team, as the rookie from Edmonton earned eighth place.

“I feel like I’ve been too conservative in previous races so I decided to go for it a bit more today and I’m really happy with the result,” said Vail. “This gives me confidence going into Nationals and I am excited to race on familiar ground with this team in two weeks.”

Just like the women the Vikes men had multiple athletes run well at the meet with six runners placing in the top 25.

Derrick Evans and Ben Weir cracked the top 15, coming in at 11th and 14th respectively while Josh KozeljAngus Brown and Thomas Oxland finished 17th, 21st and 24th.

This was the last meet for the teams ahead of the all-important National Championships, which are being held at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria on Nov. 12.

Alison Hooper – 12
Emma Edmonds – 13
Chloe Hegland – 18
Emma Bibault – 25
Chloe Hewitt – 27
Andie Wood – 28
Georgia Ginther – 30
Laurel Booker – 38
Nicole Bernardi – 44

Brandon Vail – 8
Derrick Evans – 11
Ben Weir – 14
Josh Kozelj – 17
Angus Brown – 21
Thomas Oxland – 24
Matt Noseworthy – 26
Brendan Hoff – 29
Alexander Nemethy – 30
Timothy Longley – 35
Chet Goerzen – 55