The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens indoor track team took care of business on Saturday.
In the second Running Room Grand Prix of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season hosted by Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre the Queens maintained their position at the top of the standings and the Kings remain tied for second place with the SAIT Trojans.
The Queens were led by second-year athlete Loami Rautenbach who took home first place in the 600-metre followed by the Queens first-place finish in the 4X400m relay.
Rautenbach explained she normally sticks to the smaller distance races such as the 60m but quite enjoyed competing in something new.
“I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to go but the two first laps were pretty easy. I just tried to stick with everyone but near the end, I tried to pick it up because someone got in front of me,” she said.
“I didn’t want to let her pass me so I gave it my all until the end. It felt really good.”
In the women’s 4X400m relay, Rautenbach and the Queens took home first place, which has been an event they’ve succeeded in this season. Previously, they claimed first place in the first Grand Prix of the season in Edmonton on Jan. 27 in 4:30.
“I think the relay works really well for us. There’s just so much adrenaline and excitement,” she added.
“It’s a bit different than events you do on your own because you know there are people who are counting on you. Everyone is cheering for you so I think our team wants to support each other and do well. It’s also my favourite event.”
Also in Edmonton last month, Rautenbach took home the 300m in 44.16 seconds. After that, she ran the second leg in the 4x200m relay for the Queens where the team claimed the top spot with a time of 1:54.
Head coach Doug Spicer said on Saturday he felt his team finished as expected.
“They’ve established themselves as a really strong team and Loami has established herself as the leader of the team,” he said.
“Justine Larson came up huge today. That 1500m was just a fantastic run for her. There were lots of good performances so we’re really happy with the day.”
Following Saturday’s competition, the Kings and Queens will now prepare for the ACAC Championships on March 16 -17 at the University of Alberta.
The Queens will enter the championships as the number-one team by a large margin on the women’s side while the Kings are in a battle for second place with the SAIT Trojans. The first-placed Lethbridge College Kodiaks have a large lead on the men’s side.
“Lethbridge on the men’s side has a really strong group and SAIT will be right there as well. I certainly look for us, at the very least, to really challenge SAIT for that second place if Lethbridge continues what they’ve been doing,” he said.
“I think we’re in a good spot, and a couple of guys had their first indoor meet today, so a little more training and we may just surprise some people at provincials, too.
“With the women, I think we just look to continue our strength and our performances right through to provincials. We’ll be in a good spot for sure.”