The University of Victoria is pleased to announce the 2018 class for the UVic Sports Hall of Fame to be honoured at the Annual Celebration of Champions banquet on Apr. 4 at the Victoria Conference Centre. Vikes women’s swimmer MacKenzie Downing, a five-time CIS All-Canadian and 17-time CIS medal winner, will be the lone individual inductee, while the athletes of the 1987 women’s cross country championship winning team and the 1994 to 1997 men’s cross country championship dynasty will round out the three inductions set to be honoured for 2018.
“This year’s inductees once again illustrate the tremendous legacy of Vikes Athletics,” said Clint Hamilton, director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation. “From the highly accomplished MacKenzie Downing to two team inductions including one of the most dominant teams in our history, the 1987 women’s cross country championship team, and a profound team dynasty – our men’s cross country 1994-97 teams, we will celebrate important accomplishments and athletes from our past while also recognizing the success from our current generation.”
Mackenzie Downing (Athlete, Women’s Swimming 2004-09)
Downing competed for the Vikes for five seasons, from 2004 to 2009, and is one of the most decorated female UVic swimmer to date. Recognized in all five of her CIS years as an All-Canadian, Downing graduated as the Vikes record holder in the 50-, 100- and 200-m butterfly, as well as the 100- and 200-m freestyle events. With 17 CIS medals, 22 Canada West medals and seven gold medals at Swimming Canada national championships, it was inevitable that Downing’s career would extend to the international stage. The Whitehorse, Yukon native represented Canada at the 2007 World Championships; 2006 and 2010 Pan Pacific Championships; the 2010 Commonwealth Games and she competed at four FISU games (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011).
Downing was UVic Female Athlete of the Year in back-to-back seasons, 2007 and 2008, and also won the President’s Cup for combined athletic and scholastic success in 2008. The highlight of her international career was at the 2007 FISU Games where she earned gold in the 100-m butterfly, setting a new Canadian record, silver in the 200-m butterfly; and bronze in the 4X100-m medley relay. Downing was also the FISU Games Canadian flag bearer in 2011 and truly represents all aspects of an outstanding UVic student-athlete. Committed in the pool, classroom and in the community, Downing will become the fourth female swimmer to be inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame.
1987 Women’s Cross country (Team)
In 1987 seven cross country women teamed up to race to one of the most perfect championship titles to date. Then Vikettes Silverado Socrates (formerly Brenda Shackleton), Robyn Meagher, Trish Fougner (Wellmann), Cathy Dargie, Beth Tarasuk, Liz Jones and Ulla Hansen won the 1987 banner with 15 points. At the CIAU national championships, the Vikettes won the combined team championship title on home course. Socrates won her third consecutive individual CIAU gold medal. The teams combined scoring total of 18 points shatters the previous CIAU record of 25 points set by Western Ontario in 1982. The cross-country scoring system combines the scored of the first five finishers. Three points shy of another perfect score.
Hansen finished 19 seconds behind Socrates for the silver medal. Meagher placed fifth with a time of 16:48.1, followed by Fougner in sixth, Dargie in seventh and Tarasuk who rounded out the top 10.
Meagher, Hansen and Socrates are already members of the UVic Sports Hall of Fame for their incredible individual accomplishments. This 1987 contingent become the first female cross country team to be inducted into the hall.
1994-97 Men’s Cross country (Team)
Up until 2015, only four Canadian university championship titles existed for men’s cross country and those titles came in four-straight seasons from 1994 to 1997. That dynasty of runners was led by Graham Cocksedge who is the only Vike that was a part of all four championship-winning teams, while only 14 different athletes span those four years. Chad Pawson, Jody Lee, James Davison and Neal Beattie were a part of three of the teams, while a prestigious group that includes Craig Odermatt, Paul McArthur, Ray Schmidt, Mike Coey, Mark Cryderman, Alex Coffin, James Morrison, Lucien Ervington and Jim Finlayson; round out this incredible era of men’s cross country athletes.
In 1994, the Vikes entered the London, Ont. hosted CIAU Championship as the Canada West Champions. The team hoisted their first national title after beating the No. 1-ranked Winsor team by two points with Beattie finishing as the top Vike in sixth place and Cocksedge right behind him in seventh. In 1995, the Vikes had finishers in second (Cocksedge), third (Lee) and sixth (Beattie) to finish with 46 points to defend their national title and beating the No. 1-ranked UBC by seven points.
In 1996, Cocksedge won his first individual title to lead the Vikes to their third-straight banner at Mount Royal Park in Quebec. Lee finished fifth and Morrison in seventh, while the Vikes boasted 33 points and a victory margin of 72 points ahead of second-placed Queen’s. This victory margin is a record that still stands today in U SPORTS history.
The Vikes men’s cross country championship-winning dynasty was capped off in 1997 when two UVic athletes were on the podium. Finlayson finished second, with Vike Cocksedge in third as the team finished for gold with 50 points, 35 points ahead of Western who finished second. This fourth championship set a record, at the time, for the most consecutive cross country wins by a team and wrapped up an incredible dynasty of runners that represented UVic.
“It is very fitting that in a year where we hosted U SPORTS Cross Country Championships and welcomed numerous alumni to that event, that we will once again celebrate the sport through the team inductions,” added Hamilton, referencing the Nov. 2017 national championship hosted in Beacon Hill Park. “Indeed we have a remarkable history of accomplishment in cross country and middle distance and it is terrific that the athletes from these teams will be recognized for their tremendous achievements.”
“This is also the first time that we will induct a dynasty of teams with the 1994-97 men’s cross country induction. It is a unique induction with an amazing story of team dominance that will be at the banquet and forever captured in our Lynda & Murray Farmer Walk of Excellence.”
Athletes from the 1994 to 1997 men’s cross country teams and the 1987 women’s cross country team will join swimmer Downing on Apr. 4 to officially join the UVic Sports Hall of Fame as the 16th class.
About the UVic Sports Hall of Fame
The UVic Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 2002 to honour those individuals who have contributed significantly to sport or recreation at the University as athletes, coaches, teams or as builders. All of the inductees are visually represented in the Lynda & Murray Farmer Walk of Excellence, located on the first floor of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities at UVic. Hall of Fame nominations are accepted on an on-going basis. Nominations and previous award recipients can be found online at govikesgo.com/hof.
To purchase tickets to the Celebration of Champions event or to find out more information about the Apr. 4 event please visit govikesgo.com/coc.
Note: The name for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national body that UVic student-athletes compete under has changed names throughout time. From 1906 to 2000 they were known as the CIAU (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union) and then adopted CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) in 2001, before officially becoming U SPORTS in April 2017. References above relate to what the national body was called when the inductee(s) competed.
2018 Class of UVic Sports Hall of Fame
MacKenzie Downing, Women’s Swimming (2004-09)
1987 Women’s Cross Country Team
Trish Fougner (née Wellmann)
Silverado Socrates (formerly Brenda Shackleton)
1994-1997 Men’s Cross Country Teams
Neal Beattie (1994, 1995, 1996)
Graham Cocksedge (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
Mike Coey (1995)
Alex Coffin (1996, 1997)
Mark Cryderman (1995, 1997)
James Davison (1995, 1996, 1997)
Lucien Ervington (1996, 1997)
Jim Finlayson (1997)
Jody Lee (1994, 1995, 1996)
Paul McArthur (1994)
James Morrison (1996)
Craig Odermatt (1994)
Chad Pawson (1994, 1995, 1997)
Ray Schmidt (1994)