The University of Victoria Vikes track team had the performances they were looking for to open their track season at the Bison Classic, Feb. 1-2, in Winnipeg, Man. First-year Vikes Caitlin Mann and Vaughn Taylor opened their season with personal bests.
Mann, a Saskatchewan native, picked up two third-place finishes in both the 1500-m and 3000-m events. Not far behind her was Georgia Ginther who crossed in sixth place in the 1500-m and fourth place in the 3000-m.
” Caitlin had a great weekend with some good aggressive running in of both her races,” said Brent Fougner, Vikes Cross Country and Track head coach. “It’s good to see this from a rookie this early in the season.”
On the men’s side the veterans and rookie Taylor had strong performances. Third-year Vike Josh Kozelj topped the podium in the 3000-m and had his team mate Jonny Toombs right behind him with a bronze medal. Kozelj set the pace with a 8:45.48 finish. First year Gabe van Hezewijk was not far behind with a fourth place finish (9:00.87). Timothy Longley was second overall in the 1500-m and team mates Mirchell Basher (5th) and Jonny Toombs (7th) were closed behind.
“We had solid performances from veterans Josh Kozelj and Tim Longley with medal-earning races,” said Fougner. “With better competition, their times will definitely drop.”
Taylor didn’t top the podium but had a personal best in the 600-m event crossing in 1:21.91 for ninth place overall.
“Vaughn has all the potential dominate the 600 in the next few years as a Vike,” highlighted Fougner. “This opener really shows me the potential he has going forward. I am looking forward to his next race.”
Up next the Vikes will head to the Gary Reed Open this weekend, Feb. 8-9, in Kamloops. This will be the last meet for preparation ahead of the Canada West Track and Field Championships hosted in Edmonton on Feb. 22-23. Qualified athletes will then prepare for the U SPORTS National Championship hosted Mar. 7-9 in Winnipeg.
5th – Sophie Sigfstead (3:04.38)
9th – Taylor Vaughn (1:21.91)