Ali Baggott, University of Victoria

The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rowing team finished second overall at the Western Canadian University Rowing Championship on Oct. 13 in Leduc, Alta. Freezing conditions made it difficult for all crews but UBC came away with the conference banner with 165 points, while the Vikes finished with 123 points. Calgary earned third with 84 points.


“I think we got everything we wanted out of the weekend,” said Barney Williams, leading the Vikes in his first-ever competition as head coach. “There was a tremendous desire to push ourselves and stretch so we knew what the worst case scenario would be when it comes to St. Catharines for nationals. We had cold weather, challenging conditions and the athletes were really stretched in terms of their mental and physical agility. I am really glad we did it and we learned a lot and are excited about pressing on towards nationals.”

The first race of the morning for the Vikes was in the second heat of the women’s pair event. The Vikes had two crews come down the course and finish one-two. McKenna Simpson and Piper Battersbyfinished in 8:21.2, while Larissa McKinlay and Kirsten Edwards were 8:26.8.  Simpson and Battersby finished second overall in the pair final (8:14.4) behind UBC who took gold in 8:10.8.

“It was a great moment of senior leadership,” noted Williams about the performance of the pairs in the heats. “Our captains Larissa McKinlay and McKenna Simpson led those pairs in the heats and then both of those pairs led the eights at the end of the day. Leadership from our veterans was on full display.”

The varsity eights finished second and third behind the Thundebirds. McKinlay and Edwards’ boat finished second in 7:10.2, while the eight guided by McKinlay and Edwards finished third in 7:11.9.

The Vikes topped the podium in the JV eights race as Lile Copeland coxed the Vikes crew of Larissa McKinlayKirsten EdwardsGillian CattetLayla BaloochSarah Craven
Hannah MeesonHayley HubbsEden Hardcastle to gold in 7:32.0.

“Barney’s plan to take the two even eights was shocking at first but once we got to the start lines today we knew what it was going to be like down the course stroke for stroke,” described captain McKinlay. “That is what we have been doing at practice every day.”

“The team really leaned in and supported each other and everyone held their heads high coming off the water whether it was a good race or bad race. We also had a lot of first years racing in the JV eights that won so that was really exciting for them.”

Second-year Vike Gillian Cattet earned bronze in the women’s single, while Eden Hardcastle and Hayley Hubbs battled to earn bronze in the light weight double.

“We made a strategic decision to integrate open, heavy and light weight athletes fully and we committed to it,” said Williams. “When you look at the challenge that presented us, we can come of the weekend knowing  that there is tremendous confidence with how we met that head on.”

“We will re-jig the line-ups now to really meet the CURCs project, which is our heavy weight eights and lightweight four and breaking down in to those small boats.”

Up next the Vikes will host the Head and Tail of the Gorge, Oct. 19-20, in Victoria, while the CURC National Championship is set for Nov. 1-4 in St. Catharines, Ont.


  1. UBC, 165 points
  2. Victoria, 123
  3. Calgary, 84
  4. Alberta, 46
  5. Lakeland, 38
  6. Fraser Valley, 29.5
  7. Regina, 11.5
  8. Mount Royal, 0


GOLD – Larissa McKinlayKirsten EdwardsGillian CattetLayla BaloochSarah Craven
Hannah MeesonHayley HubbsEden Hardcastle, coxswain Lily Copeland (7:32.0)

SILVER – Sarah CravenHannah MeesonHayley HubbsEden Hardcastle, coxswain Lily Copeland(8:27.7)

BRONZE – Gillian Cattet (9:16.6)

SILVER – McKenna SimpsonPiper Battersby (8:14.4)

BRONZE – Eden HardcastleHayley Hubbs (8:38.9)

SILVER – McKenna SimpsonPiper BattersbyLise McCrackenDanae McCullochMaggie HemphillAdriana RookerTess Mackay-PettyjohnKelly Halvorsen, coxswain Olivia Zachariah (7:10.2)
BRONZE – Larissa McKinlayKirsten EdwardsGillian CattetLayla BaloochSarah CravenHannah MeesonHayley HubbsEden Hardcastle, coxswain Lily Copeland  (7:11.9)