The UVic Vikes track team has their sights set on Winnipeg as they prepare for their final meet before the national championships. The Vikes will take part in the Canada West Track and Field Championships, being hosted in the James Daly Fieldhouse from Feb. 23-24.
24 Vikes; 16 men and eight women will make the trip. Some of the athletes will be using the meet as another chance to perfect their race craft in a competitive setting while for others, the meet offers them one final chance to punch their ticket to the U SPORTS National Championships that are set to take place in Windsor, ON from March 8-10.
The Vikes enter the weekend with the men ranked fifth in the conference as a team and the women seventh.
A vast majority of the Vikes results should come in the middle to long-distance events.
Both Tyler Smith and Alyssa Mousseau enter the weekend ranked second in the conference in the 600-metre race. Thomas Oxland, Timothy Longley and Smith are ranked first, second and fourth respectively in the men’s 1000-metre. Mousseau and Chloe Hewitt will lead the charge in the women’s 1000-metre, where they are ranked fourth and fifth.
Oxland is the top-ranked runner in the men’s 1500-metre, while Hewitt is the top Vike, fifth-overall, in the women’s 1500-metre. Rounding out the rankings is the 3000-metre race. Alison Hooper, Andie Wood and Chloe Hegland are fourth, sixth and seventh on the women’s side, while Chet Goerzen, Derrick Evans and Benjamin Weir are sixth, seventh and eighth in the men’s race.
About the Event
Unique among the meets the Vikes attend, the Canada West Championship always brings with it a fun atmosphere that encourages teams to get loud for one another.
The composition of the track in Winnipeg will also play a key role in the meet.
“The track in Winnipeg is a banked track, it’s a great track to race on and is probably the fastest track in the country,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “Most of our races are in Seattle at a big 300-metre track and on a flat 200-metre track the elbowing and pushing something we aren’t used to, so on a banked track there won’t be as much of that.”
With a relatively young roster last year, the Vikes return a number of medallists from the 2017 Canada West Championships.
Both Smith and Oxland claimed one gold and one silver medal last year. Smith’s gold came in the 600-metre, Oxland’s in the 1000-metre and they are joined by Max Serviss as the returnees from the men’s silver medallist 4×800-metre relay team. Goerzen is the other returning member of the Vikes men’s team who won a medal after he finished second in the 3000-metre race.
Mousseau and Hewitt are the two returning medallists for the Vikes women. They both earned silvers in the 4×800-metre relay and bronze in the 4×400-metre relay.
Brent Fougner, Vikes head coach
“It’s probably the most exciting meet of the year for us, more exciting than nationals even because it’s just the Canada West family. Good, friendly, but serious competition and for me it’s my favourite meet of the year. Not to say that we don’t take it seriously, because we do have a lot of work to do this weekend.”
“There is a little bit of stress on the people that haven’t qualified for nationals going into this weekend but that’s what racing is all about. It’s about placing instead of time, so a different kind of race makes it exciting for all of them. Tactics and positioning starts to become more important than just your time at the end of the race.”
Mitchell Basher: 1000, 1500, 4×800
Derrick Evans: 1500, 3000
Chet Goerzen: 1500, 3000
Brendan Hoff: 1000, 1500, 4×800
Josh Kozelj: 1500, 3000
Timothy Longley: 1000, 1500, 4×800
Vlad Lyesin: 600, 4×800
Alexander Nemethy: 1500, 3000
Matthew Noseworthy: 1500, 3000
Thomas Oxland: 1000, 1500, 4×800
Max Serviss: 600, 1000, 4×400, 4×800
Tyler Smith: 600, 1000, 4×400
Matthew Thibodeau: 600, 1000, 4×400
Derrick Ushko: 600, 1000, 4×400
Brandon Vail: 1500, 3000
Benjamin Weir: 1500, 3000
Georgia Ginther: 1500, 3000
Caroline Harrell: 600, 1000, 4×400, 4×800
Chloe Hegland: 1500, 3000
Chloe Hewitt: 1000, 1500, 4×400, 4×800
Alyssa Mousseau: 600, 1000, 4×400, 4×800
Elena Savidge: 1000, 1500, 4×800
Vanessa Sjoberg: 600, 4×400, 4×800
Andie Wood: 1500, 3000