VICTORIA – Fifth-year Vike Tyler Smith claimed two gold medals; one individual and one in the relay, to lead the way as the UVic Vikes track team earned three gold medals on the first day of action at the Canada West Track Championships, hosted in Winnipeg, MB on Feb. 23.

“A great start to the weekend with three gold medals and one bronze,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “The relay teams put on a show to cap the evening program off and the men were pushed to a conference record as well.”

Smith started the run of first-place finishes in the 1000-metre race. Vanessa SjobergChloe HewittCaroline Harrell and Alyssa Mousseau earned gold in the women’s 4×800-metre relay, before Timothy LongleyMax ServissThomas Oxland and Smith ended the day with gold in the men’s 4×800-metre relay. Not only did the men’s relay team finish first, they also set a new Canada West record time of 7:34.83, breaking the previous record that had held up since 2009 and was also set by the Vikes.

Hewitt claimed the other Vikes medal on the day by finishing third in the 1000-metre race.

“I tried to hold onto the leaders through the first two laps but realized the pace was too much,” said Hewitt. “I worked hard to maintain my position and get both a bronze and a personal best time.”

Smith, in his fifth and final Canada West Championships, moved from third to first on the final lap to come from behind and claim gold in the 1000-metre race, while Longley ran a strong race to finish just off the podium in fourth.

“I felt awesome today and look forward to the 600-metre race tomorrow,” said Smith.

The 4×800-metre women’s team got off to a great start thanks to a dominant opening leg from Sjoberg. Hewitt was able to maintain that lead before Harrell had to fight hard to hold off a hard-charging effort from the Calgary Dinos. Mousseau took the baton with the Calgary team right on her heels but used a great kick in the last lap to secure the victory.

“My team all ran super smart races before me, so I got the baton in an amazing position and all I needed to do was hold onto first and race to gold,” said Mousseau.

Other strong results on the day came in the 3000-metre race.

Chloe Hegland finished in fourth-place in the women’s race while Chet Goerzen crossed the line seventh in the men’s event.

All of those strong results have the men sitting in a tie for second in the team standings. Their 20 points equal the effort of the Regina Cougars with both teams 18 points behind the leading Alberta Golden Bears.

The women’s team meanwhile, are fifth as a team. The 17 points that they earned are three more than sixth-place Calgary and 16 behind fourth-place Trinity Western.

The final day of competition starts tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. inside the James Daly Fieldhouse. The first Vikes action will come in the 600-metre race with the women starting at 10:50 a.m. and the men right after at 11:10 a.m.

Day 1 UVic Results

W 1000-metre: Chloe Hewitt (BRONZE – 2:51.10)Elena Savidge (10th – 3:03.83)

M 1000-metre: Tyler Smith (GOLD – 2:26.84)Timothy Longley (4th – 2:28.49), Thomas Oxland (13th – 2:33.28), Matthew Thibodeau (16th – 2:35.34), Isaac Penner (17th – 2:36.31) Derrick Ushko (18th – 2:36.51)

W 3000-metre: Chloe Hegland (4th – 10:06.60), Andie Wood (9th – 10:31.01)

M 3000-metre: Chet Goerzen (7th – 8:31.81), Ben Weir (8th – 8:40.20), Josh Kozelj (11th – 8:44.39), Alexander Nemethy (16th – 8:52.59), Derrick Evans (17th – 8:53.84), Matthew Noseworthy (19th – 9:02.21)

W 4×800-metre relay: Vanessa SjobergChloe HewittCaroline HarrellAlyssa Mousseau (GOLD – 8:59.52)

M 4×800-metre relay: Timothy LongleyMax ServissThomas OxlandTyler Smith (GOLD – 7:34.83*)

– Canada West record