It came right down to the wire, but in the end the UVic Vikes men’s 4×800-metre track team were just edged out for the gold medal as they ended up claiming silver at the U SPORTS Track National Championships in Windsor, Ont. on March 9.
The relay silver was the first medal for the Vikes at these championships and it came in what was an extremely close race.
After a late push from the field saw to finish the second leg saw Serviss drop back to sixth-place, Thomas Oxland took over and blasted his way through the field to put the Vikes into first with just one leg left to run.
Tyler Smith maintained the blistering pace that Oxland set, and led the way for almost the entirety of his leg before a remarkable late push from the Guelph Gryphons led the team from Ontario to the gold medal by just .02 of a second.
“It is bitter sweet silver medal for the men’s team,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “It was one of the most exciting relays I have witnessed, with six teams still in the hunt going into the last leg, Tyler opened it up but the finish line just didn’t come soon enough for him.”
Both the women’s 4×800-metre relay team and Longley also earned fifth-place finishes for the Vikes on the second day of the three-day meet.
The Vikes women found themselves adrift of the four leading teams right from the start and in the end the team of Caroline Harrell, Vanessa Sjoberg, Chloe Hewitt and Alyssa Mousseau finished 12 seconds behind fourth and a solid six seconds ahead of sixth with a time of 9:06.68.
“The women ran a solid race, but we missed being in the top group after the first leg and it was too much to make up,” said Fougner. “It’s a young team and they will definitely be in the hunt for a medal next year.”
Longley and Smith both competed in the 1000-metre race and it was Longley who recorded the better result of the two Vikes.
The third-year athlete from Kentville, NS was among the leading group for much of the race and ended up crossing the line fifth with a time of 2:29.36. Smith went out hard in the race but couldn’t maintain the pace en route to finishing in a time of 2:32.18.
The final day of nationals will take place tomorrow, March 10 and there is plenty of Vikes action on tap.
Mousseau will get things underway in the 600-metre final scheduled for 10:15 a.m.
Smith will take to the track right after for the men’s 600-metre final that will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Oxland will run in the 1500-metre final scheduled for noon before the Vikes wrap up their time at nationals with the women’s 4×400-metre relay at 12:45 p.m. and the men’s 4×400-metre relay at 1:00 p.m.
Day 2 UVIC Results