Cross Country Running 2019-20 season preview

Jill Stewart and the RDC Cross Country Running team are looking forward to hosting Grand Prix #2 on Sept. 14. Photo - Tony Hansen
Jill Stewart and the RDC Cross Country Running team are looking forward to hosting Grand Prix #2 on Sept. 14. Photo - Tony Hansen

2018-19 Review

Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championships at Vermilion Running Course

RDC Queens – silver medal (6 km)   

Jill Stewart – bronze (24:23)

RDC Kings – silver medal (8 km)           

Matt Hope - bronze (26:19)

Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Running National Championships at Seneca's King Campus in Ontario

RDC Queens – bronze        

Jill Stewart – 10th (24:30)

RDC Kings – 6th               

Matt Hope – bronze (28:01)


2018-19 Awards

ACAC Cross Country Running Coach of the Year – Kari Elliott

ACAC Women's Cross Country Running All-Conference Team – Jill Stewart and Shayla Sklaruk

ACAC Men's Cross Country Running All-Conference Team – Matt Hope

ACAC Women's Cross Country Running Rookie of the Year – Shayla Sklaruk

CCAA Women's Cross Country Running All-Canadian Team – Jill Stewart

CCAA Men's Cross Country Running All-Canadian Team – Matt Hope


RDC Athletics Awards Night (Indoor Track included)

Red Deer Bottling Female Athlete of the Year – Jill Stewart

Coach's Award – Daniel Szucs

Most Improved Player – Devin Saunders

Rookie of the Year – Shayla Sklaruk

Most Valuable Player – Jill Stewart


2019 - 20 Preview

After a summer of effective preparation, the Red Deer College Cross Country Running team looks poised to perform well during the 2019-20 ACAC season.

"Training has been going well. Our 5 km time trial at the end of July showed just how fit our athletes are going into this season," says Kari Elliott, RDC Cross Country Running and Indoor Track Head Coach. "There were some huge personal bests already."

Kari Elliott    Photo - Tony Hansen 

Assistant Coaches

Loudia Laarman, Michael Schnare, Carter Weber


Returning Queens

Jill Stewart, Shaelyn Moltzahn, Teagan Shapka, Shayla Sklaruk, Mackenzie Spinks, Caitlin Debree

Shayla Sklaruk    Photo - Tony Hansen

New Queens

Shayna Brower, Lauren Pasiuk (member of the 2018-19 Indoor Track team), Jenna Sahulka


The RDC Queens won ACAC silver and CCAA national bronze in 2018-19, but Elliott sees an improved group this year. "Our women's team is not only experienced, but faster and stronger than last year. Of course Jill Stewart and Shayla Sklaruk will be threats, but all our women are strong," explains Elliott, last year's ACAC Cross Country Running Coach of the Year. "We plan on being very competitive this season, but there is hard work to do first. So patience and focus is required."

Red Deer's Lauren Pasiuk will join the Cross Country Queens after competing on the RDC Indoor Track team last year. Newcomers Shayna Brower, who attended William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus, and Jenna Sahulka, a triathlete from Red Deer, round out the team.


Returning Kings

Stephen Rowley, Devin Saunders, Carson Schiller, Daniel Szucs

Devin Saunders    Photo - Tony Hansen

New Kings

Benjamin Arychuk, William Cebuliak


Despite the significant departure of ACAC All-Conference and CCAA All-Canadian Matt Hope, the Red Deer College Kings will challenge for an ACAC medal through hard work and persistence. Benjamin Arychuk, who attended Hunting Hills High School, and William Cebuliak, a former member of the Red Deer Titans, will join the Kings this season.

Cebuliak is a natural athlete and shows tremendous potential to perform well at the ACAC level after only 18 months of running. Last fall, the Hunting Hills High School alumnus placed sixth at the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) High School Cross Country Championships with a time of 21:24 over 6 km. Then at the 2019 ASAA Outdoor Provincial Championships, Cebuliak (2:01.73) earned fourth in the Senior Boys 800 m finals in June.

Devin Saunders looked strong in the summer, completing 5 km in 16:06 in the RDC team's time trial. In addition, Daniel Szucs set a personal best in the 1500 m and also gained valuable experience at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Montreal at the end of July.  

The Kings' roster is reduced from eight student-athletes to six this season, but that has not altered Elliott's expectations.

"Our men are fewer in number this season, but fast," says Elliott, who enters her fourth year as head coach at RDC. "My goal is to see each athlete improve upon previous seasons. We have several student-athletes who I expect to see in the top seven, including Devin Saunders, Will Cebuliak and Dan Szucs."


Not Returning

Cooper Cheshire, Matt Hope, Deshann Valentine, Jakob Vollmerhaus, Lucas Wessner


The RDC Cross Country Running team will look to have a good start to the season when it hosts Running Room Grand Prix #2. The Kings and Queens will not participate in Running Room Grand Prix #1 in Edmonton. "We are looking forward to training on campus and building momentum for our first race on September 14," says Elliott. "It will be exciting to coach this group of athletes and watch them race."

The RDC team's preparation and training throughout the ACAC season will be enhanced by a unique event south of the border. "We will take a trip to Oregon to participate in a NCAA Cross Country race in October," says Elliott. "This is an opportunity for our student-athletes to race against high level competition, which will prepare them for the tough races at the end of the season."

The Kings and Queens hope to use all of their experiences to steadily improve throughout the ACAC Cross Country Running season and peak at the ACAC Championships in Calgary, and CCAA National Championships in Grande Prairie.

"If the student-athletes run to their potential, then championship titles are possible," says Elliot.