Best and Klassen receive Nexus Energy Technologies Student-Athlete Leadership Awards

(l-r) Spencer Klassen, Shae Best and Cheryl Bernard
(l-r) Spencer Klassen, Shae Best and Cheryl Bernard

Brent Forster - RDC

As Olympic curler Cheryl Bernard shared her inspirational message to RDC student-athletes and community members about the power of choice and writing one's own story, two student-athletes were celebrated for their leadership and contributions throughout 2018-19 at the 16th Annual Kings & Queens Scholarship Breakfast on Tuesday.

Shae Best, of Queens Basketball, and Spencer Klassen, from Kings Basketball, were announced as this year's recipients of the Nexus Energy Technologies Student-Athlete Leadership Awards. Best and Klassen demonstrated leadership qualities on their teams, within Red Deer College and throughout central Alberta communities.

Best's role with the Queens increased as the season progressed and the guard finished with solid shooting numbers. An Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant (OPTA) Diploma student, she connected on 44.4 per cent of her shots from the field, 50 per cent from three-point range, and 100 per cent from the free throw line.

Shae Best (6) Colby Brochu Photography

Best perhaps made an even larger impact off the court. "Shae is one of the most community minded people who has played for Queens Basketball during my tenure here," says Ken King, Queens Head Coach. "She is constantly volunteering in the community through coaching and other activities. Shae is always putting others first and has continued to build the Queens Basketball legacy of community being at the centre of what we do."

Best contributed many hours as a volunteer at the Polyclinic on RDC's main campus during the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Best was the first point of contact at the clinic, and she had several roles. Some of her duties included answering the phone, directing the athletes or coaches to the appropriate service, booking appointments, and following up as needed. This past year, she was also a head club basketball coach and volunteered her time with residents at Bethany CollegeSide. Best was also a student representative for the OPTA program.

"Seeing Shae win this award is very meaningful to me. Shae and her family were some of the first people I met when I arrived in Red Deer," says King. "She is a part of the inaugural group of club athletes that went through and now play for RDC. I am very proud of her and what she has accomplished, and I appreciate the chance to know her and her family."

For the Kings Basketball team, Klassen had an outstanding campaign in 2018-19. The fourth-year Bachelor of Education Elementary student led Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Basketball in scoring and was a South All-Conference First Team selection. After the playoffs in Lloydminster, Klassen was chosen as an ACAC Men's Basketball Championship Second Team All-Star.

"Spencer's season was nothing short of spectacular. During the off-season, he dedicated countless hours honing his craft and then he took the league by storm," says Clayton Pottinger, Kings Head Coach. "He increased his scoring average from 8.7 points per game last year to 25.6 this season. In 10 games, he scored 30 or more points." 

Spencer Klassen (21) Colby Brochu Photography

The Red Deer guard exemplified strong leadership skills on and off the court.

"Spencer spearheaded all of Kings Basketball's community efforts again this year. He led his teammates out in the community to run clinics with local basketball children," says Pottinger. "Spencer is in his third year as a coach for the Central Alberta Basketball Club, and he volunteered for the RDC Children's Christmas Party in December. His roots in the community and his progressive outlook make Spencer a future leader in our region." 

Klassen takes time from his busy schedule to help local farmers during their calving season in the winter. Upon completion of his Education degree, Klassen plans to teach, coach, and farm in central Alberta.  

The announcements were made at the Kings & Queens Scholarship Breakfast, held at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer.