Rachel Francois

VICTORIA – Veterans led the way for the University of Victoria Vikes track program at the Golden Bears Open on Saturday, as the Vikes picked up momentum with a total of nine podium finishes.

Fifth year Rachel Francois had the highlight of the event for the Vikes, winning the 600-metre event (1:30.42) and breaking a meet record (1:30.70) in the process. Francois now leads the U SPORTS rankings and has automatic standard to nationals.

Cole Peterson also had an excellent event, finishing first in the 1000-metre race (2:25.46) to jump to the top of the U SPORTS rankings. The Vikes swept the 1000-metre men’s race, as Thomas Oxland (2:28.41) and Isaac Penner (2:29.72) finished in second and third behind Peterson. Oxland also picked up gold in the 1500-metre (2:58.37).

“We had a very successful weekend lead by our two veterans Francois and Peterson,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “They put together two great performances in their hometown – dominating the track in their respective events.

“The rest of the team were definitely influenced by their teammates and this showed in the results of the team.”

Also catapulting themselves to the top five of U SPORTS rankings were Tyler Smith (1:20.38) and Brendon Restall (1:20.94), who finished one-two in the men’s 600-metre and are now ranked third and fourth in U SPORTS rankings, respectively.

The women’s and men’s 4×400-metre relay teams had strong showings at the event, finishing second (3:58.58) and third (3:24.34) in their races, respectively. The women’s team consisted of Francois, Julia GreerAlyssa Mousseau and Chloe Hewitt while the men’s team featured Smith, Restall, Penner and Bronson Reid.

Next up for the team is a trip to the University of Washington Invitational on January 28. The season culminates with U SPORTS nationals from March 9-11.