The University of Victoria Vikes men and women’s track teams raced their hearts out in the 4×800-metre relay on Day 2 of the 2016 CIS Track and Field Championships in Toronto, Ont. on Mar. 11 but ultimately fell on the wrong end of some dramatic finishes as each race went down to the wire.
The Vikes men’s 4×800-metre team of Tyler Smith, Isaac Penner, Cole Peterson and Brendon Restall finished the race in 7:30.84 – just 0.04 seconds off the gold medal-winning Windsor Lancers and 0.01 off the Vikes’ school record. The women’s team of Andrea Robinson, Shauna McInnis, Caroline Harrell andVanessa Sjoberg missed out on the bronze medal by 0.05 seconds after finishing in 8:55.80.
“It’d definitely a bittersweet feeling for everyone,” said Vikes head coach Brent Fougner. “Everyone ran well and put in a good race. On the men’s side we knew that we needed a good lead going into the final leg and it just ended up not being enough.”
Smith and Penner gave the Vikes men a good early lead in the race before Windsor began to narrow the gap in the third leg. After Peterson handed off to Restall for the anchor, Corey Bellemore of Windsor turned the race into a sprint for the final 100-metres. Restall threw himself across the finish line, but Windsor took the narrow win by four hundredths of a second to steal the gold medal.
In the women’s 4×800-metre, Robinson handed off to McInnis before the fifth year ran a strong leg to narrow the gap between the top three. After Harrell ran third, Sjoberg fell just short by 0.05 seconds to Guelph’s Sophia Watts in the final stretch for the bronze medal.
“Coming in to the race we had a good shot at a medal but underestimated Sherbrooke,” said Fougner of his women’s team. “They really stepped up and had some good legs to finish with the silver.”
On Saturday, McInnis will race in her final event as a Vike in the women’s 1500-metre with a good shot at a medal. Cody Therrien and Peterson will race on the men’s side in the 1500-metre before both teams compete in the championship’s 4×400-metre relay finale.
To watch the Vikes compete in Day 3 of the 2016 CIS Track and Field Championships visit cis-sic.tv or follow @uvicvikes on Twitter for updates.