UVic Vikes men's cross-country athlete Ryan Cassidy finishes second among the Canada West competitors at the CIS Cross Country Championships.

UVic Vikes men's cross-country athlete Ryan Cassidy finishes second among the Canada West competitors at the CIS Cross Country Championships.

Vikes cross-country look ahead after nationals

Vikes Kyle Irvine and Kendra Pomfret named Canada West cross-country Student-Athletes of the Year for community outreach

Captain Ryan Cassidy led the UVic Vikes men’s cross-country team to their a fourth-straight (14th overall) Canada West conference title while competing at the CIS championships at Western University in London, Ont., last week.

The single race counted for both the CIS and Canada West standings, with the Vikes men taking first-place in the conference with 36 points and finishing sixth overall in the national standings. The powerhouse Guelph Gryphons captured the national title for its eighth straight year.

Cassidy was fifth overall in the men’s 10-km race with a time of 31:25.6 and second among Canada West men behind only Matthew Johnson of Regina (31:21.8). Cassidy was named one of seven CIS First Team All-Canadians.

Vike Kyle Irvine was also awarded the CIS student-athlete of the year award, while coaches Brent Fougner and Andrew Ellerton (in his second year) were named Canada West coaches of the year.

1 Victoria MEN – 35 points: 2 Ryan Cassidy (31:25.6); 5 Oliver Collin (32:43.6); 6 Kyle Irvine (32:50.6); 8 Forrest Simpson (32:56.6); 14 Patrick Psotka (33:28.3); 20 Josh Clouthier (33:59.5)

Irvine has been volunteering at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health every Sunday for the past two years and is specifically involved in the Family Friend Program, an initiative pairing volunteers with a family that has a child with a disability. He has also volunteered for the Vikes  Elementary School Relays for the past four years, organizing track and field camps for elementary school students, and recently started volunteering with Special Olympics Victoria.

The Canada West women’s Student-Athlete of the Year is also from the Vikes, Kendra Pomfret.

Pomfret has been involved with the Vikes student council with Irvine, and has volunteered with Recreation Integration Victoria and with Mercy Ships. RIV facilitates active lifestyles for people with disabilities. There Pomfret works one-on-one with a young woman who is living with Cerebral palsy. She helped Mercy Ships become approved as a club at UVic to raise money for its initiatives. Mercy Ships is a large organization that sails doctor ships around Africa, providing surgeries for people who are in incredible need. They also help develop heath, education, agriculture, and water in the surrounding communities to help development, decrease risk of HIV/Aids, etc.

The Vikes women’s team fell short of winning the Canada West title by 20 points and settled for silver. Jenna Van Vliet was the top Vike in the women’s six-km race, finishing 16th in the CIS and third in the Canada West in a time of 22:23.6.

Trinity Western took the women’s Canada West title with four top-10 finishes. The Vikes finished eighth in the CIS team standings with 206 points while the Guelph women, like the men, claimed an eigth-straight CIS banner.

The Vikes had strong a performance from Rachel Francois, who finished 22nd in the CIS overall standings and sixth in the Canada West. Francois, a two-time 600-metre track champion, and Van Vliet were named Canada West first-team all-stars.

Grace Annear and Madeline Macdonald finished 12th and 13th, respectively, and were named Canada West Second-team all-stars, while Shauna  McInnis was 21st.

First Team All-Stars3 Jenna Van Vliet E3 Victoria 1 22:23.66 Rachel François E3 Victoria 2 22:37.1Second Team All-Stars12 Grace Annear E3 Victoria 3 23:03.913 Maddy MacDonald E5 Victoria 4 23:20.4