Vikes track team returns from rust-buster road trip

Sports | Lifestyle

The weekend of Jan. 12, the Vikes track team travelled to Seattle for their first meet of the year. The team typically doesn’t begin competing until late January, but this year coach Brent Fougner seized the opportunity to attend the University of Washington’s Indoor Preview.

Coach Fougner wondered going into the pre-season meet if the unusually early trip was a good idea. “I would rather have waited until the end of January,” he says, “but it actually worked well. The middle-distance runners have been training all fall and haven’t competed, so this was good to get them away and into a race.”

Among the Vikes standouts was third-year Adam Gaudes, who placed fourth in the men’s 600 metre with a time of 1:19.67. While Gaudes failed to reach a personal best, his time was fast enough to place him first in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) 600-metre rankings. Close behind and running his first race for the Vikes, rookie Brendon Restall finished sixth, posting 1:21.03.

Along with success in the 600 metre, Gaudes also teamed up with Karl Robertson, Cole Peterson and Thomas Riva to take the men’s 4 x 800-metre relay with a time of 7:39.38.

Gaudes has high hopes for the Vikes this year after both individual and team success in 2012. “I think other schools are more expecting that we’re going to do well, rather than sort of shoving us to the side,” he says. “I wouldn’t say they’re scared, but last year [Vikes success] was a surprise. Now they know what they’re up against.”

In the women’s 600 metre, last year’s CIS Rookie of the Year, Rachel Francois, placed third with a time of 1:32.39. Francois was joined in the top 10 of the event by teammates Kendra Pomfret, who ran 1:33.76 (fifth place), and Jenica Moore, who raced to a personal best of 1:37.30, finishing ninth.

Pomfret, Francois and Moore also competed in the 4 x 800-metre relay along with rookie Emma Bibault, placing second to the University of Washington with a time of 9:03.85.

“You never really know what to expect this early in the season,” says Vikes captain Kendra Pomfret about the result. “It was pretty good for a rust-buster.”

Although Pomfret’s 600-metre time was two seconds slower than last year’s personal best, she is happy with the meet. “I ran 1:33 last year at this time, too, and moved down to my PB at 1:31 mid-season,” she says, “so it’s not a bad place to start.”

Along with shaking the Christmas cobwebs, the Indoor Preview gave the Vikes a chance to take on different athletes from their usual CIS rivals. “We don’t always get to race against the [National Collegiate Athletic Association] teams,” says Pomfret. “It’s kind of nice to race against different types of competitors.”

Pomfret, now in her fourth year of CIS track, says having the chance to race against new opponents forces her to try race tactics she wouldn’t against familiar competition. “You can learn something new in every race, as new competition brings new challenges.”

Other honourable mentions from the weekend meet go to second-years Forrest Simpson and Cody Therrien, who both set personal bests in the 3000 metre.

“I always base my success of the team on their ability to run personal bests,” says Fougner. “It’s always good to come out with [PBs],” he says, “because you know the training’s going well and things are coming together.”

The Vikes are back on the University of Washington’s track for their next meet, the UW Invitational from Jan. 25–26.