Many times athletes receive individual recognition when they would rather be celebrating team accomplishments.
Not so with this year’s RDC athletes of the year.
Both Amber Adolf and Tim Finnigan received their awards during the annual RDC awards banquet at the iHotel Thursday after already celebrating provincial and national championships with their teammates.
Still both would rather talk about the team results than their own.
“Obviously the highlights happened a couple of weeks ago, but it’s always nice to be recognized,” said Finnigan, who picked up his second straight male athlete of the year award. “I couldn’t be here without the coaches or any of my teammates.”
“This is a bonus,” said Adolf, a second-year power hitter from Trochu. “I couldn’t have done any of this without my teammates. It’s nice to win with your team, but it’s also nice to get recognition on the side.”
Some time down the road she will be able to look at her mantel with pride.
“There will be a lot of good memories from a great year and an amazing team.”
In the end it was a near perfect year for Adolf.
Not only did the Queens dominate play at the provincials and nationals, but Adolf was named the MVP at both championships. She was a first-team All-Conference player and an All-Canadian and picked up a number of player of the game awards in league play and at the nationals. On Thursday it was also announced she was the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference female athlete of the year for all sports.
She was someone, who continued to improve from the time she joined the Queens last year until the national final.
“Last year I had a couple of shots, but this year I got to see the whole court and work it different than last year,” she explained. “This year our level of play made me play harder and being able to see the whole court (when I was hitting) made it better.”
She also looked back at the end of last year when they finished fourth at the provincials held at RDC, as a major reason for the team’s success this season.
“That certainly drove us to be better,” she said. “I know Brooke (Sutter) came back to try to win and we had one goal from the start. We kept reminding ourselves what it was like to lose.
“We went in wanting to win the ACAC title and the nationals were just a cherry on top,” she said. “We really came together as a team and every person worked hard with the same goal in mind.”
Adolf will move on to the University of Calgary Dinos next season.
“All this will help, but I also knew I’ll need to continue to work hard to take that next step up.”
The Queens first won the national title in 1984 and when they picked up the award this year they were the first team outside of Quebec to win it twice.
Then when the Kings won, RDC was the only school in CCAA history to win both the men’s and women’s volleyball titles in the same season.
The Kings had a slightly different goal heading into this season. They were looking for a national crown after finishing second last year.
“We had more drive to close it out this year,” said Finnigan. “We had the motivation and fire throughout the year. We knew what we had to do and executed. It all worked out.”
For Finnigan himself it was another outstanding season. He led the Kings to a 47-3 record over the last two years and this year led the team in kills, aces and was their most consistent serve receiver. He was named a first team All-Conference player and the ACAC male volleyball player of the year.
He was an all-star at both the provincials and nationals and received the Scott Builder’s student athlete leadership award.
“But I’m always focused on the team goal. It’s more enjoyable to it with your team and enjoy the memories you create within a year.”
Finnigan will return next season.
“We’re losing a lot of guys, but we’re gaining a lot as well,” he said. “We’ll have a good core group returning so I don’t expect anything less from us next year.”
Finnigan played two seasons at SAIT before switching to RDC last season.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said.
Basketball’s Mozanga Ekwalanga, hockey’s Jade Petrie and soccer’s Adi Moyer were also considered on the women’s side. Finnigan’s teammate Sam Brisbane, basketball’s Lloyd Strickland, golf’s Kyle Morrison, cross-country runner Devin Woodland and hockey Kings forward Riley Simpson were finalists on the men’s side.
In other news volleyball Kings head coach Aaron Schulha, who was the CCAA male volleyball coach of the year, received the CCAA coaching excellence award for all sports.