The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens runners are gearing up for the 2023/2024 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Cross Country season as they set their hopes at finishing their last leg of the campaign in Nova Scotia for nationals.
Last season, the Queens managed to earn a bronze medal at the ACAC Championships held in Edmonton with the Kings winning silver. At nationals, both teams finished in the top 10.The Kings just missed the podium in fourth place and the women finished in 10th.
This season, the Queens will be missing Lacombe's Jenica Swartz as she moved on to compete for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies who participate in the Canada West division of USports. Last year, she was the women’s most valuable player and star two-sport student-athlete, winning a gold medal at the ACAC Championship with the Queens Soccer program.
Head Coach Douglas Spicer said this is a great opportunity to see how a team can be strong in spite of missing their star athlete from the previous year.
“I am confident that our second and third-year runners are entering this season stronger and fitter than last year and will collectively pick up the slack. Both teams are very motivated to be better than they were and finish higher in the standings than they did last year.”
As for the Kings, they return most of their core athletes, including fifth-year veteran and team leader Daniel Szucs (Bachelor of Business Administration). Spicer is also returning Ben House (Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences), Ben Higham (University Sciences) and Jordan Coen (Open Studies). These Kings combined with Szucs will make a formidable, stronger and faster group that is ready to compete for the top spot in the ACAC.
However, Spicer, who was last year’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Sportsmanship Award recipient is quite excited for his 2023/2024 recruitment class.
“Zoey Longman(Legal Assistant)is a two-sport athlete who is excited to run with us as well as earn a spot on the Queens Basketball team. She has had a busy summer of training for both sports. Quanalee Brown (Bachelor of Education) is another addition who has been working hard this summer and will push the other girls to be better. For the Kings, we have added Dylan Leadley(Bachelor of Education), who impressed me at high school cross country championships.”
As for expectations Spicer, along with the Kings and Queens Cross Country teams, expect to challenge for top spot in the ACAC. The RDP Kings and Queens are very excited to get the season underway and are motivated to chase personal and team success.
The first Running Room Grand Prix will take place in Edmonton on September 9. There will bethree more races before the ACAC Championships on October 28 hosted by Lethbridge College. The CCAA Cross Country RunningChampionships will be hosted in Truro, Nova Scotia from November 10-11.
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