PREVIEW: Track season starts with Vikes contingent in Seattle
The UVic Vikes track team will have the opportunity to not only compete against top talent from across the Pacific Northwest, but to also put down times that will qualify them for future meets when they participate at the UW Indoor Preview, hosted in Seattle Washington on Jan. 13.
"One of the challenges with the races that we go to is having seed times that will get you into the meets," said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. "The next two meets in Seattle, the standards to get into the meets get tougher, so for a lot of our younger athletes they don't have the times (to qualify), so we are trying to establish a baseline of where their performances are, so that when we register them for the next race they have a better chance of getting into the meet."
For their first meet of the season, the Vikes will take a small group of seven men to the event, who will all be looking forward to getting into live races for the first time in 2018.
"We aren't taking many athletes down, it will be a good mixture of rookies and veterans and we are just trying to kick the season off right. For the most part this is about getting a race under our belts," said Fougner.
Of the seven Vikes competing: Mitchell Basher, Vlad Lyesin and Derrick Ushko will all be taking to the track for the first time in their university careers and this event in particular will be key in getting them accustomed to the rigours of indoor track.
"Some of our rookies have never run indoors, they've come from school programs where they have only run outdoor track, so it's just about giving them that experience of the contact on the track and the other differences that come with racing indoors," said Fougner.
About the Event
The UW Indoor Preview annually plays host to some perennial powerhouses in the world of track. Record holders at the meet include Summer Youth Olympians, Canadian Olympians and record holders as well as NCAA Division 1 champions and record holders.
The meet features not just university athletes but also top competitors from clubs in the area
The Vikes are regulars at the Indoor Preview, having competed at the meet every year since the 2010 season. Last year the meet was a successful one for the Vikes with the men's 4x800-m relay team of Thomas Oxland, Isaac Penner, Cole Peterson and Brendon Restall winning their event in a time of 7:43.07.
Brent Fougner, Vikes head coach
"The athletes that didn't run cross country in the fall have had time to prepare specifically for indoor season so they are ready to go coming off of the holiday season."
"The last few years the age gap between the seniors and rookies was larger. We are finding the team is really close and the dynamics of the team are really positive right now. We have some great leadership from some of our third-year athletes so we are pretty excited about the future with this group."
"There are no super-stars but they are working hard and when you work hard in this environment you will see the level of success come up."