The Battle of Alberta has spilled over to the trails this cross country season.
Heading into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships Saturday, the RDC Queens are ranked second in the country, behind their provincial rival, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
“We had a great battle with Lethbridge, I have a lot of respect for their athletes. They’ve trained really hard and we have too,” said fourth-year Queens runner Shaelyn Moltzahn, who will be attending her second nationals.
“It’s gone back and forth and I think it could go either way. We’re only in control of what we can do. We’re prepared and trained up. We have to trust that we know what we’re doing.”
Moltzan finished 35th last year at nationals. This year, she is feeling good coming off a top 10 performance at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Championships in late October, that included a team silver. She’s confident in the team and herself ahead of making the trip to Toronto on Wednesday.
“There’s only so much you can do on your own. You have to be there with your teammates and you have to be supportive of one another and you have to be on the same page in order to have that success at the end,” she said.
“Everyone seems excited. I’m not seeing as many nerves, we’re super pumped, we’re ready to go.”
Steady Jill Stewart will also be key for the Queens. Stewart, a third-year runner will be attending her second nationals. She won bronze at the provincial championships in October and was 11th last year in the country. She was also selected as an ACAC all-conference runner this year.
First-year Shayla Sklaruk was the ACAC Rookie of the Year after bursting onto the scene with a number of top 10 finishes this year. She topped that off with a sixth-place finish in provincials.
Men’s XC Running All Conference Team – Brant Lauweryssen, Daryl Ross, Jacques Saayman & Matthew Travaglini @SAIT_Trojans Timothy Kimaiyo @LC_Kodiaks Matthew Hope @rdcathletics Leonard Chesoo @CUE_Athletics #ACACXCR2018
— ACAC (@ACAC_Sport) October 28, 2018
The Kings also have something to prove at nationals, coming off a silver at ACAC provincials. Their high hopes ride on ACAC all-conference runner Matthew Hope, who brought home an individual bronze at provincials.
Hope has never competed at CCAA nationals before but ran for the University of Alberta at the USports Cross Country Championships and has also competed at senior national races before. He said that experience will help and he hopes it can also benefit the team as a whole.
“I think the biggest thing is a lot of calmness,” he said.
“It’s the same race we’ve been doing all year. Same distance, same rules. We’re not changing things. You don’t have to do anything special or different. Just go out there and do what we know what we can do. It’ll be fun, just have to learn to enjoy it.”
The 2018 CCAA Cross Country Championships will be hosted by Seneca College in Toronto, Ont. on Nov. 10.