The RDP cross-country team is ready for another season a year after a strong ACAC and CCAA National Championships. (Contributed photo)

The RDP cross-country team is ready for another season a year after a strong ACAC and CCAA National Championships. (Contributed photo)

RDP Kings and Queens cross-country teams begin season next week

Back on the trail

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens cross-country are looking to replicate their success after both teams went to nationals last season.

Both teams will look different this year but head coach Doug Spicer said they’re just as capable to go far as last year.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an expectation because there are too many variables that can come up during the season with injuries but it’s certainly something the team has talked about,” Spicer said on Thursday.

“As things stand now we’re certainly as capable of doing the same thing. My hope is we will be one of the few schools to send two teams again this year… We’re looking forward to it.”

In the 2022-23 academic year, the Queens placed third and the Kings second in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championship to advance to nationals.

At the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross-Country Championships last November the Queens finished in sixth place. Meanwhile, the Kings nearly missed the podium at fourth.

Jenica Swartz, who won bronze at the ACAC Championships and fourth in the 6 km run at nationals, will not return to the Queens this year.

On the Queens, they’ll return third-year Justine Larson, third-year Myah Cota, third-year Emily Barritt, third-year Kammy Park, second-year Georgia Sawchuk, and second-year Loami Rautenbach.

For first years they signed Sylvan Lake’s Zoey Longman, who will also play for the Queens basketball team, and Fairview’s Quanalee Brown.

Upon the returners for the Kings are second-year Benjamin House, second-year Benjamin Higham, fifth-year Daniel Szucs, third-year Felix Barraza, and second-year Jordan Cohen. They’ll have plenty of new faces including Peace River’s Dylan Leadlay and Fraser Motley.

“We did a time trial at the end of July and not everyone was there but a number of them were. When you combine that with the performances we saw at training camp, every single one of the returning athletes is significantly faster at this point,” Spicer said.

During the short summer, the athletes were left with a regular training regiment to follow. Some also went and competed in marathons and half marathons. The routine he said is fairly general but consistent. And as the summer went on they had scheduled practice times at RDP.

They’ll begin the season with the first event on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Edmonton at Concordia University. The second event will be in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 16 at SAIT followed by the third race on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Lethbridge College.

The fourth grand prix will be on Saturday, Oct. 14th at Alberta Augustana and the ACAC Championships on Oct. 28 in Lethbridge.

The CCAA National Championships will go ahead on November 10-11 at Dalhousie Agriculture Campus in Nova Scotia.

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