Four Victoria area athletes competing in Taiwan at World University Games

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Four Greater Victoria area track and field athletes are taking in the World University Games (FISU) in Taipei, Taiwan as we speak – the competitions began Saturday.

FISU, as the games are colloquially referred to by the athletes, stands for International University Sports Federation. They consider the games a bridge between national and international competitions like the Commonwealth and Pan American Games.

The University of Victoria Vikes are represented by track and field athletes Cole Peterson in the 1,500-metre event and Tyler Smith competing in the 800-metres, both athletes are originally from Edmonton and have completed their final year of study at UVic, while current Vike Sarah MacPherson is also in the 1500-metre event.

MacPherson previously attended the University of Tulsa and grew up in Fredericton, NB.

Victoria native, Agnes Esser (also McBride and Mill Bay, BC) will be competing in the discus throw event.

Peterson qualified for FISU with an impressive run in Ottawa this summer at the national track and field championships. He was beaten only by two veteran Olympians in Nathan Brannen and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, both barely missed qualifying for the 2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships that took place in London, UK.

At the time Peterson told Victoria Sports News, “I am very happy with my performance. My goal for the weekend was to make the FISU team, and with only two spots available and most of the field eligible and with standard, I figured one might need to medal to make the team.”

He also won the U Sport Indoor Championships earlier this year.

The 23-year-old won nationals in front of his hometown crowd at the University of Alberta on Friday, March 10 in the 4 x 800-metre event, setting a school record. Setting the record is a big accomplishment considering UVic’s long tenure as a strong 800-metre distance school. The team also included Brendon Restall, Smith and Thomas Oxland. They crossed the line in 7:30.16. The University of Windsor finished second with a 7:30.39 performance, while the bronze medal team was Guelph who is credited with the time of 7:31.92.

On the Saturday, Peterson toed the line in the 1500-metre event and won in a new personal best of 3:50.86.

He was named to the 2016-17 President’s Cup as the UVic athlete best combined academic and athletic achievement.

Smith came to UVic with a lot of promise. He turned heads at the age of 17, when he ran the 800-metre distance in the time of 1:47.96 – a near international time. Smith had his share of injuries and health issues during his varsity career, however, has also shown glimpses of his teenage self. He has run under 1:50 several times. He will be looking to return to his best form in Taipei.

Esser is the Canadian women’s discus champion having thrown for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA. The 21-year-old, who turns 22 on Tuesday, has a best throw of 57.91m. She has also been known to compete in the Hammer as well as the shot put events. She is a decorated athlete both academically and athletically with the Gophers in the All-Big 10 Conference.

Also travelling with the team from Victoria is Coach Shaldan Gmitroski.

A full list of athletes and results and news about the FISU competition can be viewed at Athletics Canada’s website>>

Competition website>>

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