Olds College working hard on goal to be competitive
When they decided to return to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, Olds College did so with one goal in mind — to be competitive.
“It’s been a goal of ours since I’ve been there that we talked about coming in and being competitive right away,” said athletic health and wellness supervisor Reg Carrick, who is in his third year at the college.
“If that wasn’t going to be the case we weren’t going to come in. We’ve put a lot of work into it and it’s been a good year.”
Carrick coaches the women’s basketball team, who along with the women’s volleyball team are the two top teams for the college this season.
Carrick’s team has been red hot over the second half of the season and have won 12 of their last 13 starts and sport a 14-5 record, which has them seventh in the conference with a game remaining. The women’s volleyball team, coached by Red Deer’s Chris Wandler, finished sixth in the standings with a 12-8 mark and will compete in the ACAC finals.
The men’s programs have had a tougher time as the basketball team has a 5-14 record while volleyball finished with a 2-18 mark. Both missed the playoffs.
The Olds soccer teams also struggled in their first season with the men finishing at 1-9 and the women 2-8. Olds also competes inn the futsal, which is holding their second tournament of the season this weekend at Lakeland College in Lloydminster. Olds will host the futsal playoffs.
OIds competed in the Alberta Colleges Athletic League prior to moving up. In fact they still run teams in that league.
“We have five players on our team who played with us last year and the men have a few more,” said Carrick. “We kept the teams in ACAL as we have a number of rural athletes and they need that to step up. Our mandate is rural education and we wanted to help those kids get a leg up before coming into the ACAC. It helps in recruiting.”
The fact the college, which was always known as an agriculture school, is diversifying their academic programs is also helping.
“We have about 70 per cent non-ag programs, which is something a lot of people don’t know,” said Carrick. “Our business program has come on strong and we’re getting a brewmaster program and science, which has helped.
“As well we have a fantastic facility, which helps once we get the kids to visit us.”
Carrick’s team was helped considerably this year with the addition of Jylisa Williams of Georgia, who leads the ACAC and the country in scoring with 24.75 points per game.
“I used to coach in West Virginia and I recruited a lot in Georgia,” explained Carrick. “One of my former assistant coaches knew of her and she was available, so that’s how she came here.”
• The RDC basketball teams finish their regular season this weekend with a twin bill in Medicine Hat.
The Kings go into the weekend in second place and ranked fourth in Canada.
• The hockey Queens finish their regular schedule this week, facing SAIT Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday in Calgary.
• The volleyball teams, both ranked No. 1 in the conference, are both off until the ACAC finals — Feb. 22-24.
The Kings also moved back into the No. 1 slot in the national rankings while the Queens remain in fifth.
The teams sitting seventh to 10th will meet this weekend to determine the final two playoff spots.
Grande Prairie will host the girls’ playoffs, which also include The King’s University College, Briercrest and SAIT. The men will be at TKUC along with Grant MacEwan, the University of Alberta, Augustana and Grande Prairie.
The ACAC men’s final takes place at Keyano College in Fort McMurray with the women at RDC.
l Volleyball Queens third-year power hitter, Brooke Sutter, was named the Boston Pizza RDC female athlete of the week.
She accumulated 27 kills, 24 digs, an ace and a stuff block in a pair of wins over Olds last weekend.
Basketball Kings guard Mari Peoples-Wong had 39 points, 16 rebounds and nine steals in a pair of wins over Olds.
Volleyball’s Tim Finnigan and basketball’s Kaitlin Bracko were also recognized in the voting.
• The basketball Kings received the Breathing Room Yoga Studio and Cafe team of the week award.