Ali Lee, University of Victoria
The University of Victoria Vikes women’s cross-country team have a young group leding into the CIS cross-country championship in Guelph, Ont. on Nov. 14. Results from this event are also compiled to award the Canada West banners and major awards.
The Vikes women’s cross-country program have amassed nine national titles, last won in 2001, while the team has been successful at the conference level with an impressive 20 Canada West banners, last won in 2011 and 2012. This season, however, the Vikes boast just one fifth year, Shauna McInnis, while three rookies also round out the seven-member team.
“We enter this weekend ranked fifth nationally and our goal is maintain that ranking and come out top five,” said Vikes cross-country head coach Brent Fougner. “We are going to have to work pretty hard to achieve our goal because we do have such a young team but we will be looking to Shauna McInnis and Chloe Hegland to lead the team.”
McInnis was the top Vike at the 2014 women’s championship finishing 27th nationally and 10th in the conference. The Vikes women finished sixth in the CIS standings and second in the Canada West standings. Hegland, the only second year on the roster, finished 12th in the Canada West last season and was named the conference’s top rookie. Third year Emma Bibault, McInnis and Hegland were all named Canada West Second Team All-Stars.
Despite boasting a young roster the Vikes started their season off well with a second-place finish at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational, hosted Oct. 3 in Salem, Ore. The team racked 46 points thanks to a seventh place finish from McInnis and 10th place finish from Hegland. The Vikes also had the Oct. 10 Western Washington Classic and Oct. 24 B.C. Cross-Country Championships to tune up for this weekend’s national championship.
The Vikes will race a field of 178 athletes that are representing 28 different CIS schools. The event is on Nov. 14 and can be followed with live stream and results at trackie.ca.