This Week in RDC Athletics is sponsored by Zed 98.9 and Real Country 95.5
This week the Kings Soccer team will compete at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Soccer National Championship in Ontario. The RDC Cross Country Running Kings & Queens will race at the CCAA Cross Country National Championships in Grande Prairie.
The Hockey Queens and NAIT Ooks will play a home-and-home series. The RDC Kings & Queens Volleyball team will challenge the Olds College Broncos in a pair of games. Both basketball teams will travel to Olds and face the Broncos.
Here is a summary of what is happening this week in RDC Athletics:
Kings Soccer | Wed., Nov. 6 | 3:00 p.m. EST | CCAA Championship | Vaso's Field | Oshawa
After a strong finish to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season, which included a silver medal, the Red Deer College Kings are ready to compete on the national stage.
"We have been playing win and you're in soccer since the last weekend of the regular season. The boys have really found themselves again," says Head Coach Wade Groenewegen. "Nationals is of course going to be a great challenge, but just like the ACAC Championship, if you can win your first two games, you are in the final. We will put in our best effort and see how far that gets us."
The Kings (7-3-2) will open the national championship quarter-final against the Holland Hurricanes of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) at 3:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 6. The Hurricanes picked up an 8-1-3 record during the regular season and won ACAA gold with a 1-0 win over the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves.
"We expect Holland to be very well prepared. They are probably the team that makes it to nationals the most often. They are used to being there and will be very comfortable, I would expect," says Groenewegen.
"There is definitely going to be some newness and excitement for our boys. It will be our task to harness that energy and unleash it on the field."
The six other teams competing for the national title are the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Champion Humber Hawks (6-2-1), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) gold medal winning Champlain College Saint-Lambert Cavaliers (4-2-2), ACAC Champion Lethbridge College Kodiaks (8-1-3), PacWest silver medalist VIU Mariners (7-3-2), PacWest Champion Douglas College Royals (6-4-2), and OCAA host Durham College Lords (8-2).
The Red Deer College Kings spent some time this past Saturday at The Dome Red Deer to fine tune some preparation before they depart for Ontario on Sunday.
Hugo Janssen (8)
"Preparation has been good and will continue right up to the event. We have taken stock of how we did at ACAC's and have refocused," says Groenewegen. "We were definitely beat up a little bit last weekend, but are moving towards being more fit as a group."
After dropping their ACAC quarter-final a season ago, Groenewegen and the Kings remained confident in their abilities and fittingly had visions of a trip to the national tournament this season.
"Last year we were eliminated from ACAC's on the first day, but we trained for two additional weeks because we wanted to be prepared to play this time of year," he says. "One year later we are on our way to nationals."
The result of this quarter-final will determine the opponent and time of the next game.
Information about the schedule and webcast can be found online.
RDC Cross Country | Sat., Nov. 9 | 12:00 p.m. | CCAA Championship | Grande Prairie
Many ACAC Cross Country Running teams would have been thrilled with the Kings & Queens' results at the ACAC Championships. As some key runners recover from injuries, both RDC teams expect an even stronger outing at the CCAA Cross Country Running National Championships in Grande Prairie on November 9.
The Kings had a tremendous ACAC Championships in Calgary, earning team gold, but ACAC Cross Country Running Men's Rookie of the Year Will Cebuliak wasn't fully healthy. He still managed to finish eighth (28:51) over 8 km, but the first-year Bachelor of Arts student from Red Deer is expecting to improve up north.
"The mindset is that we want to do even better. The Kings did have a great race, but with Will still returning to form after an injury, I expect he will be stronger next weekend," says Head Coach Kari Elliott. "There is definitely room for improvement across the team. We are certainly shooting for a team podium finish."
The RDC Queens captured ACAC team silver and Shayla Sklaruk (24:42) took individual bronze over 6 km, but they are motivated to perform even better at nationals.
"The ladies were disappointed with their team result. Despite some especially strong individual results from Shayla and Shaelyn, second place was never the goal," says Elliott. "But it has made them hungry to get back out there and challenge for a top podium finish at nationals. As with the men's team, having Jill Stewart recovering from injury, we hope to post a better team result next weekend."
Representing the Queens in Grande Prairie will be Shayla Sklaruk, Shaelyn Moltzahn, Jill Stewart, Caitlin Debree, Teagan Shapka and Shayna Brower.
Dan Szucs, Devin Saunders, Will Cebuliak, Stephen Rowley, Carson Schiller and Benjamin Arychuk will compete for the Kings.
Training for the national event has looked similar to the team's regular routines.
"Prep for nationals has been keeping the training patterns the same, but with lower volume and intensity," says Elliott. "It is important to focus on nutrition, sleep and self-care - rolling, massage, ice baths etc."
Both the body and the mind are involved in fully preparing for the national competition.
"Also, the mental prep. Most of our athletes by now have a pretty good rhythm when it comes to mentally rehearsing their upcoming race, but we will fit in a team session where we do some visualization as well," says Elliott. "If the body is ready, the most important aspect now becomes sharpening the mind to be ready to perform."
As snow could cover the course, Elliott and the RDC student-athletes have practiced in similar conditions in central Alberta.
"Practically, our workouts are more focused on race like conditions and pace," says Elliott. "For example, we ran on snowy grass the other day to gain confidence for the snow that is assuredly going to cover the course in Grande Prairie next weekend."
Teams will start arriving in Grande Prairie on Thursday, November 7, with the race occurring on Saturday, November 9. The women will run at noon and the men will follow at 1:00 p.m. The CCAA Awards Banquet & Closing Ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Participating teams, results, awards and photos can be found online.
Queens Volleyball | Thursday, Nov. 7 | 6:00 p.m. | Olds College
The Queens (2-2) will compete against the Broncos (2-2) in Olds. Outside hitter Emma Holmes sits third in the league with 3.53 kills per set.
Emma Holmes (11)
Queens Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 8 | 6:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The Red Deer College Queens will face the Broncos at home. Prior to the opening serve, representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion will be present, promoting and leading Remembrance.
Kings Volleyball | Thursday, Nov. 7 | 8:00 p.m. | Olds College
The RDC Kings (3-1) will play the Olds College Broncos (0-4) on the road. Patrik Toze leads the league with a 0.365 hitting percentage. Setter Thomas Wass sits at the top of ACAC Men's Volleyball with 9.33 assists per set.
Patrik Toze (11)
Kings Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 8 | 8:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
In a rematch, the Kings will host the Broncos.
Queens Hockey | Friday, Nov. 8 | 7:00 p.m. | NAIT
The second place RDC Queens (5-1-0-0) will face-off against the NAIT Ooks (4-2-0-0) in Edmonton. Karlee Fetch has the best save percentage (0.918) and second best goals against average (2.08) in the league.
Karlee Fetch (1) and Brooklyn Rowley (93)
Queens Hockey | Saturday, Nov. 9 | 7:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The Queens will entertain the Ooks.
Queens Basketball | Friday, Nov. 8 | 6:00 p.m. | Olds College
The Red Deer College Queens (2-1) and Broncos (2-0) will clash in Olds. Amy Szymanek ranks fifth in the league with 16.7 points per game. The Queens have averaged the most rebounds (52.7) in ACAC Women's Basketball, with Sandra Garcia-Bernal leading the way (10.7) for RDC.
Kings Basketball | Friday, Nov. 8 | 8:00 p.m. | Olds College
The Red Deer College Kings (2-1) will compete against the Olds College Broncos (0-2). Over three games, the Kings have scored 85.3 points and allowed 78.3.
RDC Athletics photos are available on Flickr. Be sure to follow RDC Athletics (@rdcathletics) on Twitter and check us out on Facebook.