Last year RDC Cross Country Queens won bronze at nationals and Kings runner Matthew Hope earned individual bronze. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Deep, talented roster looks to lead RDC Cross Country team in 2019

The RDC Cross Country team is ready to hit the ground running in 2019.

Both proverbially and literally, the RDC running crew will start the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season in hast, with their first event on Saturday in Edmonton.

“Training has been going well. Our 5 km time trial at the end of July showed just how fit our athletes are going into this season,” said Kari Elliott, RDC Cross Country Running and Indoor Track Head Coach. “There were some huge personal bests already.”

The RDC Queens are expected to be a force in the ACAC for the second straight season. They won provincial silver last year and followed with bronze at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.

The Queens are led by 2018-19 RDC Female Athlete of the Year Jill Stewart, who finished 10th at nationals last year. She was also an ACAC all-conference runner and won individual bronze at provincials. Combine that with reigning ACAC rookie of the year Shayla Sklaruk, as well as Shaelyn Moltzahn, Teagan Shapka, Mackenzie Spinks and the Queens should do some damage on the circuit this season.

“Our women’s team is not only experienced but faster and stronger than last year. Of course, Jill Stewart and Shayla Sklaruk will be threats, but all our women are strong,” explained Elliott. “We plan on being very competitive this season, but there is hard work to do first. So patience and focus is required.”

Red Deer’s Lauren Pasiuk, Sayna Brower and Jenna Sahulka are also new to the mix on the women’s side.

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The men will be without CCAA all-Canadian Matt Hope this season, but still have a strong contingent this year. Coming off an ACAC silver last season, Stephen Rowley, Devin Saunders, Carson Schiller and Daniel Szucs are all back. Benjamin Arychuk, who attended Hunting Hills High School, and William Cebuliak are rookies on the squad this year. Cebuliak posted strong times last year at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Cross Country Championships and in track and field provincials in the senior boys 800m.

“Our men are fewer in number this season, but fast,” added Elliot.

“My goal is to see each athlete improve upon previous seasons. We have several student-athletes who I expect to see in the top seven, including Devin Saunders, Will Cebuliak and Dan Szucs.”

On top of hosting Grand Prix #2 Sept. 14 at RDC, the Kings and Queens will also travel south of the border to compete in an NCAA race in Oregon. The provincial championships are Oct. 26 at SAIT, with nationals set for Nov.9 in Grande Prairie.

(With files from RDC Athletics)

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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The RDC Cross Country team recently completed training at Sulphur Mountain. (RDC Cross Country Twitter Photo)

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