File photo. Josh Kozelj at 2017 Bazan Bay 5K. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications

The University of Victoria Vikes men finished in the Top 10 at the U SPORTS Cross Country national championship at Fort Henry Hill on Nov. 9 in Kingston, Ont. The Queen’s hosted event was won by Calgary who win their first-ever men’s cross country championship banner.

RESULTS: INDIVIDUAL | TEAM

The Vikes were led by third-year Josh Kozelj who finished in 29th overall in 32:16.4. Kozelj finished ninth in the conference results to be named a Canada West Second Team All-Star.

“I was really proud with the team today,” said Kozelj. “The conditions were extremely difficult with the wind and below zero temperatures but words can’t describe how proud I am of the guys. They have battled and worked so hard all year and it’s a real pleasure to just be apart of this team with an amazing group of people.”

“I was also so pumped with my own result to finish nine spots higher than last year and get Canada West All-Star for the second year in a row.”

As was part of the plan the Vikes stayed close together as Chet GoerzenBen Weir and Jonny Toombs finished 49th, 50th and 54th, respectively, while Derrick Evans was not far behind in 61st. Alex Nemethy was 76th (33:21.5) and Brendan Hoff finished in 105th in 34:16.4.

“There are two things you can’t control – the weather and your opponents,” said Vikes men’s and women’s cross country head coach Brent Fougner. “Our preparation and fitness this year was probably the best we have had for several years. The health of the team was good and on the day everyone ran to their best ability. I am proud of the team in its season even if we came up short today. Four athletes ran their last cross country race as a Vike – Ben Weir, Derrick Evans, Chloe Hegland and Alison Irvine. All of them have contributed a lot to this program and today, as they always have, they gave 100 per cent towards their team.”

The Vikes combined for a team score of 243 to finish ninth in the country and fourth in the country.

Calgary finished with three All-Canadians in the race as Pennock was followed close behind by Eric Lutz in ninth and Stefan Daniel in 10th. Ryan Grieco (21st) and Tyler Kiyonaga (32nd) rounded out the top five for Calgary as they finished with a team score of 75 which was 14 points ahead of second-place Guelph and 19 ahead of third place McMaster.

The U SPORTS men’s champion was Connor Black from the Guelph Gryphons who ran the 10km race in a time of 31:13, which included a tight sprint down the finish as he fended off silver medalist Jean-Simon Desgagnés of the Laval Rouge et Or by a fraction of a second.

VICTORIA VIKES U SPORTS RESULTS
29th – Josh Kozelj (32:16.4) – CW Second Team All-Star
49th – Chet Goerzen (32:45.0)
50th – Ben Weir (32:45.8)
54th – Jonny Toombs (32:50.0)
61st – Derrick Evans (33:00.9)
76th – Alexander Nemethy (33:21.5)
105th – Brendan Hoff (34:16.4)

Team Standings

  1. Calgary, 75
  2. Guelph, 89
  3. McMaster, 94
  4. Laval, 131
  5. Queen’s, 149
  6. Western, 173
  7. UBC, 235
  8. Trinity Western, 242
  9. Victoria, 243
  10. Toronto, 279
  11. Manitoba, 331
  12. StFX, 344
  13. Laurentian, 385
  14. Alberta, 405
  15. Sherbrooke, 427
  16. Regina, 540
  17. Laurier, 541
  18. UQAM, 650
  19. Montreal, 700

First Team All-Canadians
1. Connor Black, Guelph (31:13.0)
2. Jean-Simon Desgagnés, Laval (31:13.6)
3. Russell Pennock, Calgary (31:16.2)
4. John Gay, UBC (31:17.0)
5. Isaiah Frelink, Western (31:18.5)
6. Caleb De Jong, Trinity Western (31:25.3)
7. Nick Colyn, Trinity Western (31:28.3)

Second Team All-Canadians
8. Jack Sheffar, Western (31:33.1)
9. Eric Lutz, Calgary (31:34.1)
10. Stefan Daniel, Calgary (31:36.7)
11. Max Turek, McMaster (31:38.0)
12. Mitchell de Lange, Queen’s (31:42.0)
13. Alexis Lepage, Laval (31:44.0)
14. Alex Drover, McMaster (31:45.1)

Award Winners

Athlete of the Year: Connor Black, Calgary
Rookie of the Year: Ruben Sansom, Queen’s
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Craig Klomp, Toronto
Coach of the Year: Doug Lamont, Calgary

CANADA WEST TEAM STANDINGS
1 Calgary, 75 pts
2 UBC, 235 pts
3 Trinity Western, 242 pts
4 Victoria, 243 pts
5 Manitoba, 331 pts
6 Alberta, 405 pts
7 Regina, 540 pts

File photo. Alison Irvine at Bazan Bay 5K. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The University of Victoria Vikes women’s cross country team finished their 8-km national championship appearance sixth in the country and second in the conference. Results from the U SPORTS National Championship, hosted by Queen’s at Fort Henry Hill in Hamilton, Ont., also determine the Canada West team and individual champions. Fourth-year masters student Alison Irvinewas the lone Vike to be recognized in the Top 10 earning U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian honours for her eighth-place finish.

RESULTS: INDIVIDUAL | TEAM

The Vikes finished sixth in the country, 11 points back of McGill (195) and 18 points ahead of seventh-placed Trinity Western (224). Laval earned their first ever national title taking the reins from 2017 champions Toronto, who last year ended a 12-year championship run by Guelph.

Irvine crossed in 28:34.0 to finish eighth in the country after being edged right at the line by Laval’s Jessy Lacourse. Irvine’s performance garnered her a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian nod, while her result puts her second in the conference to earn a Canada West First Team All-Star recognition.

“I really went for it at the start to put myself in the best position possible,” said Irvine. “Getting eighth and missing the First Team All-Canadian is bittersweet, but my goal was Top 10 so overall I’m very happy.”

In the Canada West results the Vikes were just shy of defending their 2017 conference banner as the newly-joined UBC Thunderbirds earned their first title in their first year competing away from the NAIA conference. The Thunderbirds finished with 191 points, while the Vikes earned 206. Calgary’s Melissa Jones took the top honours for the conference as her fifth-place finish overall was the fastest Canada West time, while Irvine was second in Canada West with her 28:34.0 time.

“As a team, I thought we dealt with the extreme elements well,” added Irvine, noting the cold winds they faced. “Our team fell short of our goal but we left everything on the course and I’m extremely proud of all the gals so onwards and upwards.”

Laval finished with two individual medalists as Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie and Catherine Beauchemin claimed the silver and bronze medals individually. Combined with two more All-Canadians in Anne-Marie Comeau and Jessy Lacourse and a 37th place finish from rookie Jade Bérube gave Laval the top spot with a total of 55 points. The Rouge et Or finished seven points ahead of second-place Queen’s and 53 points ahead of third-place Guelph.

Fifth-year Vike Chloe Hegland was the second-fastest time on her team finishing in 29:41.6 for 22ndplace overall and seventh in the conference. Hegland was named a Canada West First Team All-Star. Vikes rookie Caitlin Mann impressed with a 45th place finish in 30:30.9 to be named a Canada West Second Team All-Star. Andie Wood and Georgia Ginther rounded out the team scores with 58th and 73rd U SPORTS finishes, respectively.

Also racing for the Vikes was Caitlin Vail (88th) and Chloe Hewitt (94th).

“There are two things you can’t control – the weather and your opponents,” said Vikes men’s and women’s cross country head coach Brent Fougner. “Our preparation and fitness this year was probably the best we have had for several years. The health of the team was good and on the day everyone ran to their best ability. I am proud of the team in its season even if we came up short today. Four athletes ran their last cross country race as a Vike – Ben Weir , Derrick Evans, Chloe Hegland and Alison Irvine. All of them have contributed a lot to this program and today, as they always have, they gave 100 per cent towards their team.”

The host Queen’s Gaels, who had been ranked No.1 all season fell just short of the national title with a team total of 62. The individual national champion was also a rookie as Brogan MacDougall ran a 27:48.6 to claim the gold medal. Her sister, Branna, was close behind with a ninth-place finish for the Gaels.

Brogan not only finished as the Athlete of the Year but was also the top rookie for the women.

Following the races Irvine was highlighted as a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian to go with her Student-Athlete Community Service Award she won a day earlier.

VICTORIA VIKES U SPORTS RESULTS
8th – Alison Irvine (28:34.0) – U SPORTS 2nd Team All-Canadian, CW First Team All-Star
22nd – Chloe Hegland (29:41.6) – CW First Team All-Star
45th – Caitlin Mann (30:30.9) – CW Second Team All-Star
58th – Andie Wood (30:50.1)
73rd – Georgia Ginther (31:04.7)
88th – Caitlin Vail (31:29.3)
94th – Chloe Hewitt (31:38.6)

U SPORTS TEAM STANDINGS

  1. Laval, 55
  2. Queen’s, 62
  3. Guelph, 108
  4. UBC, 191
  5. McGill, 195
  6. Victoria, 206
  7. Trinity Western, 224
  8. Calgary, 227
  9. Dalhousie, 277
  10. Laurentian, 306
  11. Montreal, 376
  12. StFX, 381
  13. Toronto, 386
  14. Western, 389
  15. McMaster, 402
  16. Sherbrooke, 417
  17. Saskatchewan, 450
  18. Laurier, 501
  19. Regina, 596
  20. Manitoba, 701

U SPORTS First Team All-Canadians
1. Brogan MacDougall, Queen’s (27:48.6)
2. Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie, Laval (28:02.1)
3. Catherine Beauchemin, Laval (28:05.4)
4. Danielle Jossinet, Guelph (28:11.8)
5. Melissa Jones, Calgary (28:28.7)
6. Anne-Marie Comeau, Laval (28:31.8)
7. Jessy Lacourse, Laval (28:33.5)

U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadians
8. Alison Irvine, Victoria (28:34.0)
9. Branna MacDougall, Queen’s (28:45.8)
10. Hannah Woodhouse, Guelph (28:49.4)
11. Courtney Hufsmith, Saskatchewan (29:00.4)
12. Meggie Dargis, McGill (29:01.2)
13. Makenna Fitzgerald, Queen’s (29:07.5)
14. Nicola Symonds, UBC (29:09.6)

U SPORTS Major Award Winners

Athlete of the Year: Brogan MacDougall, Queen’s
Rookie of the Year: Brogan MacDougall, Queen’s
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Alison Irvine, Victoria
Coach of the Year: Félix-Antoine Lapointe, Laval

CANADA WEST TEAM STANDINGS
1 UBC, 191 pts
2 Victoria, 206 pts
3 Trinity Western, 224 pts
4 Calgary, 227 pts
5 Saskatchewan, 450 pts
6 Regina, 596 pts
7 Manitoba, 701 pts

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