This season’s Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens indoor track teams have big shoes to fill.
The squads have big expectations this year coming off an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship win for the Kings and a silver medal finish for the Queens in the 2022 ACAC Championships.
The season kicks off this weekend when Concordia University in Edmonton hosts the first Running Room Grand Prix.
Head coach Doug Spicer, who will experience his first season as the coach, said he’s excited to start.
“It’s very exciting to be able to see where we stack up against the rest of the ACAC competition,” Spicer said.
Both teams will have a mix of veterans and rookies this season. Spicer said they’ll rely on their veterans who were certainly some of their top runners during the cross-country season. However, the indoor track season will allow the younger athletes to step up.
“If they perform at their best and they just happen to be the top RDP runner in that particular distance that’s a really cool opportunity for them to shine and to establish themselves in the ACAC,” Spicer said.
“I’m excited about watching all of them and just see how the team comes together in an indoor competition venue.”
Spicer believes this season the Kings and Queens both have a great shot at being the top schools in the ACAC but admits it can be quite a transition for players to have a new coach step in.
“I’m interested to see how the athletes respond to a different training regiment and there’s going to be a greater emphasis on speed, even at the longer distances,” he said. “I’m hopeful that works out and that the kids see that improvement.”
The key to success at this level Spicer said is establishing which events are the best fit for each athlete and will be extremely important to experiment when they head to Edmonton on Saturday.
In each event in the ACAC, there are five different differences including the 300-metre, 600-m, 1,000-m, 1,500-m, and 3,000-m. There is also the 4x200m relay and a 4x400m relay.
“We’re looking forward to this weekend and then that should establish where we go from here for the rest of the season,” he said.
After this weekend the Kings and Queens will host the second Grand Prix of the season on Saturday, Feb. 18 before the ACAC Championships on March 18 and 19.