Jody Sanguin was named the RDC female athlete of the year for the second year in a row during the RDC Awards banquet at the Westerner Wednesday

Jody Sanguin was named the RDC female athlete of the year for the second year in a row during the RDC Awards banquet at the Westerner Wednesday

Sanguin, Pierce named top RDC athletes

Jodi Sanguin will walk away from her final year at RDC as one of the most decorated female athlete of all time at the college.

Jodi Sanguin will walk away from her final year at RDC as one of the most decorated female athlete of all time at the college.

Sanguin was named the RDC female athlete of the year for the second year in a row during the RDC Awards banquet at the Westerner Wednesday, sharing the spotlight with outstanding basketball forward Rob Pierce, who took the top male award.

It was a year to remember for Sanguin, who was the Red Deer female athlete of the year for 2011.

The outstanding cross-country runner put together an undefeated season at the college ranks, winning the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and the national championship. She led the RDC team to first place in the ACAC and third place at the nationals.

She was also named the ACAC female athlete of the year, covering all sports.

Sanguin competed at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association finals all five years at RDC, making the all-star team every year. She finished fourth in 2007, seventh in 2008 and second in 2009 and ‘10.

In 2010 she also won the Woody’s RV World half marathon title and last year won the women’s title and was second overall in the Woody’s first 10-kilomtere race.

But looking back at her career, it was the CCAA title that stood out.

“That was my goal going into last year,” she said. “I started training in early July, put on more mileage and ended the season where I planned.”

It was the Notre Dame grad’s final time running for RDC. Wednesday was officially the end of her college career.

“It’s bitter sweet,” she said. “I’m happy to be done with my studies, but I’ll miss competing for the college. It was a great five years.”

But it almost never came about.

“I wasn’t planning on running, but (RDC coach) Brian Stackhouse called me every day for a week, and it started from there,” she explained, adding her success came from all the support she received over the years.

“I had two great coaches in Brian and Darren George of Lacombe, a great team to train with and the college gave me numerous opportunities to better myself. And God gave me the ability to run. I was blessed in that sense.”

As for being the most decorated female athlete at RDC, it’s something she never thought about.

“I never dreamed of it, I owe it all to my support.”

Sanguin, who is finishing her nursing degree, plans to return to RDC next year as a coach.

“I coach with Notre Dame with their track and field and I plan on helping at the college with some training plans and workouts.”

Basketball forward Lauren Loyek, hockey veteran forward Megan Abt, volleyball left side hitter Brooke Sutter and badminton’s Mary Smith were also in the running for the award.

Pierce was a major reason for the basketball Kings success this season. The Windsor, Ont., native was one of the premier scorers and rebounders in the ACAC.

A first-team all-star in the South Division, he helped lead the Kings to second place in the ACAC and a berth in the national finals, where they finished a respectable fourth.

When recruited prior to the season, by first-year head coach Clayton Pottinger, Pierce didn’t know what to expect.

“Athletically I didn’t know, but they did tell me it was cold, but I didn’t think it would be that cold,” he said with a smile. “But it was a great group of guys. The coaches were great and everyone at the school, in Red Deer and in Alberta were helpful and great to me.”

Pierce could have easily look at all his individual success as a highlight of the season, but instead looked elsewhere.

“One of my highlights was helping in the community,” he said. “It’s been awhile since I volunteered and it was good to see the youth in the community, the teachers and little kids looking up to the college kids. It was great.”

Pierce was quick to recognize the strength of the other finalists for the award, and felt it was a good way to finish off the season.

“It was a lot of fun. You compete all year and it’s fun to come and enjoy yourself and see everyone’s accomplishments. And the competition was tough. It shows RDC has such a great athletic program.”

There’s a chance he may be back next year.

“Right now I’m on the fence. I’ve had some universities talk with me and of course Red Deer is a major thing. I may also just look at going to school and finishing a degree.”

Soccer goaltender Brad Hughes, men’s curling skip Shane Parcels, who finished second in Canada, and volleyball outside hitter Quentin Schmidt were also considered for the award.

• A pair of assistant coaches — one who’s been around for several years and one who’s just getting into the coaching fraternity — were honoured.

Chris Wandler, who has been an assistant coach with the RDC Queens volleyball team for nine years, and Deanna Hume, who was a student interim coach with the basketball Queens each received the volunteer/major contributor award.

• The Al Ferchuk leadership scholarships went to Queens volleyball setter Kirsten Sorensen and Queens hockey netminder Camille Trautman.

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