Brent Forster - RDC
Edmonton - A new Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Cross Country Running season began Saturday and the Red Deer College Queens & Kings proved that they will be serious contenders.
At Running Room Grand Prix #1, the RDC Queens, led by Red Deer's Jill Stewart, took top spot. Newcomer Daniel Szucs helped push the RDC Kings to a second place finish as a team, just behind the SAIT Trojans.
After a productive summer of training, Stewart looked strong over 6 kilometres and completed the course first among ACAC female runners in 24:33. The Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Diploma student was supported with solid outings from her fellow Queens to help seal top spot as a group. Among ACAC women, Shaelyn Moltzahn was fourth (26:18), Shayla Sklaruk was close behind in fifth (26:21) and Teagan Shapka ended up ninth (27:10).
First-year student-athlete, Daniel Szucs remarkably ran the 8 km course in fourth spot among ACAC male runners in 29:39. Stephen Rowley, a second-year Kinesiology student from Caroline, followed Szucs in fifth (30:01) and Cooper Cheshire, a Bachelor of Education student from Trochu, was one second behind (30:02) in sixth spot.
Cross Country Running Head Coach Kari Elliott was thrilled with the opening race of the season. "I was very pleased with the effort and results today," says Elliott. "We set goals before racing and many of the student-athletes achieved or passed those goals. Our runners looked sharp and it was a very positive start to the season."
Elliott anticipated a strong Kings team this year and was impressed with the performance in the opening ACAC competition. "Daniel ran exceptionally well, Stephen and Cooper were neck-and-neck, and both gave a fabulous push at the end," says Elliott. "Cooper is from a hockey background and really knocked it out of the park today. As a new tradition, we will be awarding one RDC student-athlete the 'Most Gutsy Runner', and Cooper received that today."
Cooper Cheshire - picture from @RDCXcountry
Elliott noted further development among the returning RDC runners this season and sees their performances continuing to trend up. "Many of our returning student-athletes showed improvement and ran stronger in this event compared to last season," says Elliott. "For the Queens to finish first is very encouraging. It was Shayla's first ACAC race and I think she will improve a lot over the season, and Jill is poised to do very well this year."
Jill Stewart was dominant
The RDC Cross Country Running team will look to continue this momentum as it travels down south to Running Room Grand Prix #2, Saturday, September 15. SAIT and St. Mary's University will co-host the event in Calgary.