RDC Kings cross country win national bronze

Queens miss podium by one point

It was a banner end to a banner season for RDC Kings cross country.

Under snowy and cold conditions in Grande Prairie, the Kings earned the first-ever Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championship medal at nationals.

With more than 15 centimetres of snow on the course, perseverance was the key on the way to a medal for RDC.

“It was a great day and huge victory for the men,” said RDC Cross Country Head Coach Kari Elliot in a press release. “To have three of the men finish in the top 20 is incredible and it’s the first time the Kings have podiumed at nationals.”

Kings runner Devin Saunders led the way with a 10th place finish in the 8km race in a time of 29:33.32. In the deep 106-runner field, Daniel Szucs was close behind his teammate with a time of 29:59.11 for 15th. Alberta Colleges Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country rookie of the year Will Cebuliak (30:08.15) finished 17th.

In the women’s race, it came down to a video review to determine medals and the Queens ultimately settled just off the podium in fourth place.

ACAC rival Lethbridge Kodiaks captured the National Championship with their average race time of 26:50.

The Saint-Lambert Cavaliers earned silver and were led by Veronic Boire (25:28). The Laurier Brantford Golden Hawks picked up bronze, only a single point ahead of the Queens.

Shayla Sklaruk (26:50.53) was the top runner for the Queens over six km, ending the race in 11th. Jill Stewart (27:36.14) was 22nd among 90 participants.

Shayna Brower (27:49.78) was 13 seconds behind in 27th. Caitlin Debree (27:53.06) and Shaelyn Moltzahn (27:57.98) were 29th and 30th. Teagan Shapka (29:16.43) was 47th.

“The snowy and cold conditions presented problems and all of our top female runners fell,” added Elliott. “The runners who were able to stay on their feet had the advantage, but there were just some things that were out of our control. Everything had to go your way.”

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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