Cota, Brisbane receive leadership scholarships

It’s impossible to have success without talent, but without leadership it’s almost out of the question to win championships.

On Tuesday two elite student-athletes, who have that leadership quality, received the Scott Builders student-athlete leadership scholarships at the annual RDC Kings and Queens Scholarship Breakfast at RDC.

Cross-country and indoor track star Jordanna Cota and volleyball Kings setter Luke Brisbane received the honours.

“It’s such an honour to be recognized,” said Cota. “There were so many other student-athletes who could have received this award. To be chosen as the female recipient is absolutely unbelievable.

“Being here and getting to hear the speech (by keynote speaker John Herman, head coach of the national women’s soccer team) set such a passion for next season. I can’t wait to continue to lead my team for one more year.”

“It’s a real honour to be recognized as a student-athlete and a leader,” said Brisbane. “It’s something you strive for, like John (Herdman) said you try to be a leader every day.”

Cota, who is in her fourth season with the RDC team and second in the nursing program, finished second in the ACAC championships and sixth at the nationals. She was on the ACAC All-Conference team and an All-Canadian.

What was even more important to her was the team’s success, she said. They won the ACAC title and placed second in Canada.

Indoor she was second in the 3,000-metres at the ACAC finals and led the Queens to a silver medal.

“I was so proud of the team … what we accomplished and where we got to,” said the Red Deer native. “Everyone came together and I was proud of the dedication everyone showed. They all gave 100 percent every day.”

Despite the fact schooling and training fills her time, she wouldn’t change anything.

“Because of schooling and sport I don’t get to do a lot of things other students do, but it’s 100 percent worth it and I wouldn’t change anything. It’s been an amazing four years.”

Cota will compete for her fifth and final season in the fall, but hopes that’s not the end of her time at RDC.

Brisbane, a native of Australia, finished his third season at RDC, leading the Kings to their second straight national title.

This year’s team needed the leadership of Brisbane and the other veterans more-so than the 2016 championship squad.

“It was more of a challenge this year,” he said. “If we would have lost last year it would have been a failure. This year we were swept in a doubleheader in our gym, something which didn’t happen in the last seven years. We weren’t necessarily a good RDC team. But we had a pivotal team meeting just after Christmas which seemed to be the turning point.

“We came together as a team, peaked and reached our potential when it mattered. That was a credit to the coaches and everyone involved. It took a full effort of 20 to 30 people.

“It wasn’t just the six or seven guys on the court, it was a a full team. Buying in at practice and fitting together. We had good people on and off the court and we talked about winning for each other.

“That medal doesn’t mean anything but having success as a team and knowing how hard we worked does.”

Brisbane could be back next season, although he has an offer from a university.

“The ball is in their court … hopefully I will know for sure by the end of this week.”

While at RDC Brisbane also volunteered as a coach with the Kings Volleyball Club.

“That’s something I really enjoy,” he said. “I’m not sure what I want to do after I finish playing, but coaching is a passion of mine and this is good experience. I try to teach the kids to be better volleyball players and better people. I see them two or three times a week and it’s something I look forward to.”

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