As part of the second of four days of announcements for University of Victoria Vikes major award finalists three exceptional Vikes men round out the Athlete of the Year finalists announced today, Mar. 20. Multiple gold medal winner Patrick Keane from rowing, gritty 8-man James O’Neill from rugby and U SPORTS 1500-m gold medalist Thomas Oxland put together the 2017-18 Male Athlete of the Year Finalists.
Finalist: Patrick Keane, Men’s Rowing – Victoria, B.C. (Social Sciences)
Patrick Keane racked up the accolades at both the international and university level in an incredible year as a 2017-18 member of the Vikes men’s rowing program. The Social Sciences major won six medals from major regattas throughout the season for the Vikes. The carded Canadian National Team member won gold in the lightweight men’s single at both the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships as well as the Canadian University Rowing Championships. Keane also earned silver medals in the lightweight men’s coxed four at both WCURC’S and CURC’S.
At the National Rowing Championships in 2017, Keane captured gold in both the U23 and the Sr. lightweight men’s single. Other notable results from the Victoria native included a second-place finish in the lightweight men’s eight at the San Diego Crew Classic as well as gold in the lightweight men’s single at the Elk Lake Spring Regatta and a fourth-place finish in open single at Elk Lake, where he was bested only by three Olympians and the U23 World Champion.
Internationally, Keane raced at the World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Senior World Championships in Sarasota, USA and finished fourth at the U23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Finalist: James O’Neill, Men’s Rugby – Cochrane, Alta. (Social Sciences)
A leader both on and off the field for the a young Vikes men’s rugby team, James O’Neill has undoubtedly been the Vikes’ most valuable player throughout the 2017-18 season. Possessing tackling and contact skills that are of international calibre, O’Neill has kept a young Vikes team in games with his competitive intensity alone. O’Neill is highlighted by head coach Doug Tate as the only player who brings such fierce preparedness and competition to his daily training regime further making his team mates better at every practice.
At the Canadian University Championships the native of Cochrane, Alta, was named a Canadian University All-Star for his part in leading the Vikes to a silver medal.
Constantly in the mix for Team Canada at the junior level, O’Neill brings an infectious energy into both games and practices as he flies around the field always looking for contact.
Finalist: Thomas Oxland, Men’s Track – Nanaimo, B.C. (Education)
Thomas Oxland wrapped up his third year with the Vikes men’s track team in the best way possible – winning both a gold and silver medal at the U SPORTS National Championships.
The Education major burst from third to first in the closing metres of the 1500-metre race to claim gold at nationals in what was the highlight of the Vikes men’s track season. Earlier in the meet, Oxland took over the 4×800-metre relay race with his team trailing the leaders and ran an incredible third leg to bring the Vikes back into contention and help the team to a U SPORTS silver medal.
Originally from Nanaimo, B.C., Oxland also won three medals at the conference championships. Again Oxland played a huge role for the 4×800-metre relay team, helping the Vikes win Canada West gold in a conference record time. The U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and Canada West First Team All-Star also won silver in the 1500-metre and bronze in the 4×400-metre relay.
Oxland was ranked near the top of the table in the U SPORTS rankings for both the 1000 and 1500-metre races thanks to strong performances throughout the beginning of the season. He finished fifth in the 1500-metre at the Golden Bear Open, first in 1000-metre at the Edmonton Twilight Meet and improved his best time in the Mile by six seconds to make it through to the second section in Husky Classic Meet where he raced against some of the top athletes in the NCAA.
Female Athletes of the Year finalists were announced earlier in the day on Mar. 20.
Award finalists will be announced in a staggered fashion beginning with Rookies of the Year on Mar. 19, and followed daily with Athletes of the Year finalists on Mar. 20, Chancellor’s Award finalists on Mar. 21 and the President’s Cup on finalists Mar. 22. All award winners will be announced at the banquet on Apr. 4. For a description of each award and list of past recipients click here.
The Provost Award, already announced in November at the Vikes Honour Roll Luncheon, along with the Publisher’s Community Award winners will not have finalists announced and will be given out at the Celebration of Champions banquet. For more information on this year’s UVic Sports Hall of Fame inductees please click here.
2017-18 Vikes Varsity Award Finalists
Finalists are listed in alphabetical order by last name.