McMann and Butler honoured at RDC Athletics Awards Night

Tanner Butler and Sara McMann received the 2018 Red Deer Bottling RDC Athletes of the Year. Photo - Tony Hansen
Tanner Butler and Sara McMann received the 2018 Red Deer Bottling RDC Athletes of the Year. Photo - Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

It was another exciting year in RDC Athletics and the student-athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials and supporters were recognized at the 2018 RDC Athletics Awards Night, held on Tuesday evening at the RDC Arts Centre.

This past season, Red Deer College Athletics added 15 medals to their historic totals. The RDC teams earned 10 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) medals (including three gold). Our student-athletes captured five ACAC individual medals (including two gold), 22 ACAC awards and two Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) awards. Trevor Keeper, Head Coach of Kings Hockey, was selected as an ACAC Coach of the Year.

Many student-athletes were recognized on a provincial and national level. RDC student-athletes were named the ACAC Athlete of the Week on 12 occasions and CCAA Athlete of the Week five times.

Sara McMann was chosen as the 2018 Red Deer Bottling RDC Female Athlete of the Year after a great season with RDC Queens Curling. The Queens finished third (8-4) overall after the Fall and Winter Regionals but elevated their game at the ACAC Curling Championships to earn gold, and Sara was recognized as an ACAC Athlete of the Week. The third-year student-athlete also excelled in the classroom and received an Academic Excellence Award.

"Even though Sara switched from third to skip on the Queens this season, she made a smooth transition during the ACAC season," says Brad Hamilton, Head Coach of RDC Curling. "She had a strong year in the conference and was recognized by being named the ACAC Female Curler of the Year."

Sara and the RDC Queens enhanced their game during competition against Alberta colleges on their way to a conference title. "Sara and the team steadily improved throughout the ACAC season, which resulted in gold and a spot at nationals," says Hamilton.

The skip felt honoured after being recognized among a talented group of RDC female student-athletes. "Getting this award means so much being surrounded by great women who are dominating in their sport," says McMann.

The Bachelor of Science Nursing student is thankful for the experience with her dedicated team. "After all the hard work that my team and I put into the season, it means a lot," says McMann. "Some of my fondest memories are spending weekends with my teammates and those are the moments that I cherish the most. I am so proud of our thriving RDC Curling program and coaches, and all that we have accomplished." 

The student-athlete from Chauvin, Alberta is appreciative of this year's conference title but the goal for next season is clear. "Winning ACAC gold was a great experience and we hadn't won that in 36 years," says McMann. "Nationals was a bit disappointing but it makes me more motivated for next year as we go for that second title. Once you taste it, you want to achieve it again."

Tanner Butler was chosen as this season's Red Deer Bottling RDC Male Athlete of the Year after he put up some amazing numbers on the ice. The Kinesiology & Sport Studies student helped lead the Kings to an outstanding 19-7-2-0 regular season record and a bronze medal. In 28 games, the defenceman recorded 12 goals and 21 assists, which included six goals on the power play and one game winning goal. The all-star from Souris, Manitoba, was a consistent contributor all season.

"Tanner had an excellent season and was recognized with an ACAC First All-Conference team selection. He led all defencemen in scoring and finished fourth in league scoring. I think that Tanner is the best two-way defenceman in the league. He is very good defensively, on special teams and one-one-one," says Keeper. "He leads by example, says the right things, and is very respected by his teammates."

The captain of the RDC Kings Hockey team dedicated his award to others in the hockey community dealing with adversity. "My thoughts and prayers go out to my teammate Nick Fountain and the Humboldt Broncos, and this award is for them," says Butler. Fountain is recovering in the University of Alberta Hospital after he suffered an arteriovenous malformation hemorrhage (AVM) while playing recreation hockey.

The fourth-year student-athlete humbly deflected praise from personal achievement to others within Kings Hockey. "I can't take all of the credit for my season," says Butler. "It comes from my teammates and the coaches, and I thank them for making it enjoyable to go to the rink."

There has been steady growth to Tanner's game in his time at RDC and some of that can be attributed to experience and hard work. "Coming here from junior hockey, it was a bit of a change and over the years I think that I have improved," explains Butler. "Being in my fourth year, my confidence grew. I want to give myself a chance to get better everyday on the ice and in the weight room."  

The well-rounded defender is already looking forward to the 2018 - 19 season and likes how the Kings roster is filling out with more speed and skill added to an already deep lineup. "We have a lot of guys returning and we added some good recruits," says Butler. "They will help us a lot." Keeper received commitments from Ross Heidt, a local forward who suited up most recently with Alaska-Fairbanks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Chance Longjohn, from the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), and Ryley Smith who spent most of his junior hockey career with the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

RDC student-athletes strive for excellence during competition and in the classroom. At Awards Night, 102 student-athletes, who maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, received an RDC Academic Excellence Award. Five student-athletes were recognized as Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All-Canadians. Tracie Kikuchi (Queens Hockey), Chelsea Webster (Queens Soccer), Miranda Dawe (Queens Volleyball), Chanelle Kayser (Queens Volleyball) and Adam Turlejski (Kings Volleyball) achieved honours (3.5 GPA or higher) at RDC and were selected to a 2017 – 18 ACAC All-Conference team.

  Additional 2018 RDC Athletics Awards Winners

  Al Ferchuk Athletic Leadership Award – Spencer Klassen

  Team Awards

  Kings Basketball

  Coach's Award – Spencer Klassen

  Most Improved Player – Solon Ellis

  Rookie of the Year – Omon Edobar

  Most Valuable Player – Eric Bakker


  Queens Basketball

  Coach's Award – Eva Bonde

  Most Improved Player – Mary Krause

  Rookie of the Year – Paige Schultz

  Most Valuable Player – Emily White


  Cross Country Running & Indoor Track

  Coach's Award – Adam Wass

  Most Improved Player – Devon Gurney

  Rookie of the Year – Lucas Wessner

  Most Valuable Player – Jordanna Cota



  Coach's Award – Chloe Logelin

  Most Improved Player – Austin Kelts-Larsen

  Rookie of the Year – Shelby Primrose

  Most Valuable Player – Sara McMann



  Coach's Award – Logan Hill

  Most Improved Player – Paige Tichkowsky

  Rookie of the Year – Justin Loro

  Most Valuable Player – Shaye Leidenius


  Kings Hockey

  Coach's Award – Michael Salmon

  Most Improved Player – Tyler Berkholtz

  Rookie of the Year – Lynnden Pastachak

  Most Valuable Player – Tanner Butler     


  Queens Hockey

  Coach's Award – Jade Petrie

  Most Improved Player – Camryn Wallan

  Rookie of the Year – Catherine Longchamps

  Most Valuable Player – Tracie Kikuchi


  Kings Soccer

  Coach's Award – Matthew Elphick

  Most Improved Player – Hugo Janssen

  Rookie of the Year – Kyle Bett

  Most Valuable Player – Koltan Childs


  Queens Soccer

  Coach's Award – Reesa Garez

  Most Improved Player – Nicole Phillips

  Rookie of the Year – Erin Gill

  Most Valuable Player – Krysten Strand


  Kings Volleyball

  Coach's Award – Mark DeWit

  Most Improved Player – Ben Hankins

  Rookie of the Year – Tom Wass

  Most Valuable Player – Adam Turlejski


  Queens Volleyball

  Coach's Award – Hanna Delemont

  Most Improved Player – McKenna Olson

  Rookie of the Year – Kelly Heinemann

  Most Valuable Player – Chanelle Kayser