The University of Victoria Vikes Track and Field team is looking very strong as they roll through the indoor season and look towards a competitive CIS outdoor season.
Athletics Illustrated, during the November 29th interview with Coach Keith Butler, reported that the University of Victoria Vikes team were seeing early returns during the 2011 CIS cross-country season. Both the women’s and men’s teams finished second in the Western Washington Invitational on October 8th. October 22nd the women not only finished first in the University of British Columbia Open, but also swept the podium positions. The men’s team also finished first and took the gold and silver positions.
The Vikes continue to run well during the indoor season as several of the athletes have accomplished season and lifetime personal bests. Butler and the team look forward to a very competitive outdoor season with fast-developing athletes, stellar recruits and a men’s team led by Cliff Childs, who is in his fifth and final year with the Vikes and is coming off an excellent cross-country season as well.
Christopher Kelsall: How is the team coming along for the upcoming outdoor track season?
Keith Butler: We have had many athletes set indoor personal bests with several setting lifetime personal best so far this indoor season, so that bodes well for the outdoor campaign. Our men’s team has been very healthy so far this season while our women’s team has struggled with the injury bug a little.
CK: What are the injuries?
KB: Stephanie Trenholm (stress fracture while at Alaska-Anchorage) and Jenna van Vliet (high school soccer, knee surgery) suffered injuries before they came to our program which are still causing side effects that are hampering their ability to train at a consistently high level. Because the outdoor season is our emphasis, two or three very strong women will likely skip the indoor season so as not to rush them back into training and racing too quickly.
CK: Rachel Francois breaking Ulla Hansen’s record is impressive so early. Ulla ended up competing at a high level for sometime as you well know.
KB: Rachel crushed our existing 800m record that Ulla set but to be fair to several outstanding UVic alum, such as Trish Fougner (nee Wellman), our athletes don’t get that many opportunities to race 800m in indoor competition. Trish’s 1000m school record of 2:44 reflects that she ran 1000m more often than 800m indoors. Even still, Rachel’s time of 2:07.70 is a lifetime best for her, indoors or out. She is obviously very talented and has come from an excellent coach in Edmonton in David Lee Pong.
What is more impressive is that she really has not done any specific 800m work yet. Brent (Fougner) commented that a specific 800m workout she recently completed was in Rachel’s words, “the first time I have ever done a workout like that”.
CK: You and Cliff Childs, in separate interviews, talked about doing more tempo runs than years before and that the two of you feel they are a contributor to the excellent cross-country season – capped by a Canada West first place finish and a team bronze at CIS (nationals).
Do you continue these through indoors and into spring? What do these tempos look like?
KB: We include steady state and max steady state tempo runs in most workout days, warm up runs as well as part of our long Sunday runs. This varies by athletes but Cliff and Dylan Haight are working to consistently include 30-45’ of tempo running in a long Sunday run. Most Thursdays include lactate shuttle runs where the tempo drops down to 3k pace for 45-60” during a steady state effort of 20-40’. Dylan tends to thrive off of these kinds of workouts.
CK: Does this indicate that his strength may lean more toward 3000m or 5000m as opposed to 800/1500m?
KB: In Dylan’s case, yes. Our goal with Dylan this year is to keep him healthy through one full 11 month phase of training, something he has not been able to do before. Touch wood, but so far so good. Dylan and Cliff are going to focus on the 5k this outdoor season.
Goals for the upcoming Indoor championships:
Right now UVic leads the individual rankings in the 600m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m and 4 x 800m relay. Our goal is to win all of these events and maybe the 4 x 400m relay as well.
The top two in each event qualify for the CIS indoor championships March 10-12 in Winnipeg so John Pratt, Adam Gaudes, Thomas Riva, Kyle Irvive, Karl Robertson, Cliff Childs and Dylan Haight are the group we hope to qualify with the outside chance of 1-2 more.
UVic leads the rankings in the women’s 600m and 4 x 800m. Rachel Francois is the #2 ranked 600m in the CIS as a rookie. Kendra Pomfret has the automatic CIS standard in the 600m as well, so she is guaranteed a CIS berth. We also hope to qualify Brittany Therrien in the 1000m and/or 1500m and Alicia Roske in the 1500m and/or 3000m. Our 4 x 800m relay team leads the CIS rankings and we hope to qualify our 4 x 400m relay team as well.
Only 12 athletes/teams qualify for the CIS per event so the races are very strong.
The competitive level in the middle distance events at the CIS level has soared this indoor season. See the rankings at http://www.sportingcanada.com/tf/
We will set specific CIS goals following our conference championships, which happen February 24-25 in Saskatoon.