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– The UVic Vikes Track and Field team is gearing up for their trip to Saskatoon February 24-25, where they will compete in the 2012 Canada West track & field championships.

Led by a strong blend of youth and experience, a series of meets in Seattle and throughout Western Canada have prepared the Vikes for a strong showing at the Canada West championships.

On the men’s side, John Pratt and Cliff Childs are runners to watch.

Pratt is currently ranked No. 1 in CIS in the 600m, an event in which he is the school record holder. He will also run the 4×400-metre and 4×800-metre relays. He was the Western Canada Games 800m champion this past summer.

Childs, a fifth-year senior, is ranked No. 1 in Canada West in the men’s 3000m, having set a personal best of 8:15 for the 3000m on Feb. 11. He is also ranked No. 2 in the 1500m behind Vikes teammate Karl Robertson. Childs will compete at the World University cross country championships in Lodz, Poland on April 14.

Rookie Rachel Francois is the top Vikes female after capturing gold in the women’s 600m at the Golden Bear Open and meeting the CIS standard in a new personal best time of 1:32.05. She also set a personal best in the 300m (40.09), No. 2 at the time in CIS. Francois also set a new school record in the 800m, (2:07.70), breaking the UVic record.

Vikes senior Alicia Roske, the defending Canada West 3000m champion, recently clocked a time of 9:52.65 to move to the No. 3 ranking in the conference.