Brent Forster - RDC
Calgary - At Running Room Grand Prix #2, the Red Deer College Queens & Kings Cross Country Running teams showed a lot of heart and both raced to second place finishes. Jill Stewart, once again, led the way for the Queens while Matthew Hope was the highest performing member of the Kings.
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks, who did not enter the first grand prix, were in Calgary and showed that they will be one of the RDC Queens' main competitors this season with Sophia Nowicki (22:33) capturing top spot among Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) female runners over 6 kilometres. Emilie Mann (23:32), of SAIT, was second and RDC's Jill Stewart (23:38) impressively placed third, helping her Queens take second spot as a group.
Shaelyn Moltzahn (25:45), a Bachelor of Science Nursing student from Red Deer, was the next fastest member of the Queens and crossed the finish line eighth. Fourteen seconds later, Shayla Sklaruk (25:59) earned ninth and Lacombe's Caitlyn Debree (26:26) rounded out the top four RDC Queens in fourteenth.
RDC Cross Country Running Head Coach Kari Elliott was happy with the day's performances. "I was really pleased with the efforts today. All of the Queens ran better than last week. The Kodiaks' top runner looked strong but it showed us what we need to do. It is an early wake up call and reminded us to keep running hungry," says Elliott. "Jill (Stewart) had a fantastic race on a difficult course. Shayla (Sklaruk) was named our Most Gutsy Runner today. She was the third Queen and sprinted hard in the final stretch. The Queens were only 6 team points behind the Kodiaks and we are optimistic moving forward."
The Kings had a strong day and Matthew Hope led the charge. In his first race of the ACAC season, Hope had a remarkable performance in Calgary and placed second with a 25:36 finish over 8 km, helping the Kings place second as a team. The Bachelor of Education Secondary student proved he will challenge for top spot and was only five seconds behind SAIT's Matt Travaglini (25:31), who has been dominant among ACAC men the past few seasons. The SAIT men captured top spot.
Crossing the finish line next for the Kings was Stephen Rowley (28:53), a Kinesiology & Sport Studies student, who placed ninth. Daniel Szucs (29:20) finished tenth and Cooper Cheshire (29:56) earned twelfth.
"Matthew ran at a blistering pace and was only steps behind the top male from SAIT. For his first race of the season, Matthew really delivered and will show further improvement throughout the season," says Elliott. "Stephen (Rowley) had a major breakthrough race as well with a strong run. The Kings performed very well and finished 20 points ahead of third spot."
Next, the RDC Queens & Kings Cross Country Running teams will compete in Running Room Grand Prix #4, Saturday, September 29. Lakeland College will host the event.