A great season for RDC athletics
To say RDC had a good season, athletically, would be an understatement.
All but the basketball Queens made the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference playoffs with the Kings volleyball and basketball squads winning gold. The volleyball Kings finished second at the Canadians and without star middle blocker Chris Osborn breaking his foot, could well have won gold.
The basketball Kings finished fifth at the nationals, not bad considering they faced the eventual gold medal winning Vancouver Island University of Nanaimo in their first game and then lost by one point to top-seeded and eventual bronze medal champion Langara College of Vancouver in the bronze medal semifinals.
Head coach Clayton Pottinger was only in his second season with a team that last won an ACAC title in 1998. He already has two trips to the nationals on his resume, placing fourth and fifth. They were also named the Fair Play Award winner at this year’s finals.
“I would say it was a very good season,” said RDC director of athletics Keith Hansen. “It’s the first time in our history both the men’s volleyball and basketball teams won the ACAC championship in the same year and earlier in the season it was the first time both were ranked No. 1 in the country.
“It hurt when Chris was injured as he was a big part of their team. You never know for sure but if he was healthy they had a good chance to winning.”
As well Devin Woodland won the ACAC cross-country running championship and was All-Canadian. Both soccer teams made the playoffs with the Queens winning bronze. Both futsal teams made the playoffs as they competed for the first time in ACAC play.
The hockey Queens finished second to the NAIT Ooks. Head coach Trevor Keeper did an outstanding job in his two seasons with the team, but will move on to hockey Kings next year.
The Kings will play out of Penhold and Keeper has been busy and has 12 players committed. He hopes to fill out the major portion of his roster in the next few weeks as he attends a number of junior playoff games and the Western Canadian Junior A championships in Nanaimo.
“Twelve players is good number for men’s hockey this time of the season . . . a lot of players don’t commit until the end of their season,” said Hansen, who also has to find a women’s coach.
“We’ve posted it and hopefully we’ll know soon,” he said.
The Queens hoop squad also took a step forward. Despite the fact Mike Woollard came in late, replacing Dawn Smyth, he took the team to five victories and with a bit more experience and a few less injuries that would have been even better.
Woollard should have a good nucleus returning next season and has spent considerable time recruiting, although the college does have to post his position again.
Hansen said it’s something that has to be done, but was happy with the job Woollard did.
The volleyball Queens season didn’t end how they hoped. After finishing first during the regular season, they placed fourth at the ACAC finals.
“They were close and from what I saw could have competed at the nationals,” said Hansen, who knows that success only helps in recruiting.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “But not only does it help in recruiting, but in retaining players as well. Players want to stick around if they’re close as they feel they’re accomplishing something big together.”
One other plus for the program is having Wayne Gretzky as the keynote speaker at the annual Kings and Queens scholarship breakfast, March 28.
“It’s the biggest event the college has hosted,” said Hansen.
One other thing is that the basketball and volleyball schedules have caused some concern.
On the volleyball side not every team plays each other in the cross-over, meaning two teams could tie for first place, yet not meet during the season.
“There’s too many teams to play everybody, but it’s something they may look at,” said Hansen.
As for the basketball teams from each division — north and south — meet each other once and they play every other team in their own division twice. Teams receive one point for a victory in their division and two when they cross over.
Wins should be two points, pure and simple. Take the Queens for example. They were so young last season it took them until Christmas to find their stride, By then they had faced all the north teams, missing out on a chance to pick up two points for a win.
“I know the schedule will remain the same, but I’m not sure about the points,” said Hansen, who isn’t happy with the travel
“We go to Fort McMurray (Keyano) for one game and it costs $5,000. I can’t say what has to be done, but it’s something that should be looked at.”
Especially with the new budget and less funds available for all post-secondary institutions.
“That’s something I haven’t heard anything about yet,” added Hansen.
l The RDC women’s curling team of Kaitlyn Sherrer, Tanis Steinbach, Julie Primrose, Lindsay Janko and Taylor Lindstrom are at the national finals, beginning Thursday at NAIT.
RDC team opens against Lakeland Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and face Grant MacEwan at 2 p.m. On Friday they meet Niagara College of Welland, Ont., at 8:30 a.m., Douglas College of New Westminster, B.C., at 2 p.m. and Confederation College of Thunder Bay, Ont., at 7 p.m. On Saturday they finish round-robin play against NAIT at 8:30 a.m. and Fanshaw College of London, Ont., at 2 p.m.
The bronze medal game between the third and fourth place teams goes Sunday at 9:30 a.m. with the final at 2:30 p.m.
l Basketball Kings star Rob Pierce and soccer Queens goaltender Jesse Stewart were named the Boston Pizza RDC athletes of the week.
Pierce was selected a second-team all-star at the nationals while Stewart was outstanding for the Queens, who finished fourth at the futsal finals.
The basketball Kings was named the Breathing Room Yoga Studio and Cafe team of the week.