The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rowing program finished second overall at the Canadian University Rowing Championship hosted Nov. 3-4 in St. Catharines, Ont. Vikes McKenna Simpson and Piper Battersby defended the Vikes’ gold medal in the women’s pair, while the team finished with one gold and three silver medals.


“We are excited to have clear evidence of the gap between us and the top program in the country and we are committed to closing this gap over the next 12 months,” said Vikes women’s rowing program head coach Barney Williams. “The athletes have demonstrated courage and patience through a very challenging fall and have firmly set the course for the Vikes rowing program moving forward.”

The Thunderbirds women won gold in the women’s eight, the lightweight coxed four and lightweight single to hoist just their second banner, following a win in 2004.

“We will fight to the finish line for every point and by doing so demonstrate that hard work beats talent,” added Williams. “We congratulate UBC and look forward to the chance to turn the tables at the Brown Cup.”

Layla Balooch earned silver in the women’s single in 7:53.660 behind Queen’s rower Louise Munro. Sarah Craven in the lightweight single finished fourth in a time of 7:53.70. The lightweight double of Eden Hardcastle and Craven finished fifth overall in a time of 7:55.980.

The Vikes finished second in the women’s eight in a time of 6:41.550 and behind UBC (6:39.480). They were clearly ahead of third-placed Brock who finished in a time of 6:55.340, clearly setting the stage for this Spring’s Brown Cup race between the Vikes and T-Birds.

Battersby and Simpson claimed the Vikes’ only gold medal of the day in the women’s pair in 7:37.420, inspired by last year’s first-place finish by Olivia King and Morgan Cathrea.

“On a personal note, I feel privileged to work with such passionate coaches and athletes and firmly believe that UVic will set the standard for women’s collegiate rowing in Canada moving forward,” stated Williams.

DAY 1 RESULTS – Canadian University Rowing Championship

Women’s Top 5 Team Standings
1 – UBC, 121 pts
2 – Victoria, 105 pts
3 – Western, 66 pts
4 – Brock, 65 pts
5 – Calgary, 52 pts

Women’s 1x
SILVER – Layla Balooch (7:53.660)

Women’s Lwt 1x
4th – Sarah Craven (7:53.570)

Women’s 8+
SILVER – McKenna SimpsonKirsten EdwardsLarissa McKinlayLayla BaloochLise McCrackenDanae McCullochGillian CattetPiper Battersby, coxswain Olivia Zachariah (6:41.550)

Women’s Lwt 2x
5th – Sarah CravenEden Hardcastle (7:55.980)

Women’s 2-
GOLD – McKenna SimpsonPiper Battersby (7:37.420)

Women’s Lwt 4+
SILVER – Sarah CravenHannah MeesonHayley HubbsEden Hardcastle, coxswain Lily Copeland(7:38.430)