(Story Credit: IAN GUSTAFSON)
Red Deer Polytechnic held its annual Athletics Banquet on Thursday honouring players, coaches, and support staff for a successful 2022-23 season.
Multiple awards were given out and five championship banners were hung to celebrate a year to remember for Kings and Queens athletics.
“It’s one of the most enjoyable evenings of the year as we celebrate all of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of so many people,” said Randy Stewart, manager of Athletics and Student Life in a media release.
“This event not only provides an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our student-athletes and coaches, but we get to recognize our donors, sponsors, medical network, minor officials, volunteers and so many more that make RDP Athletics the incredible success that it is.”
The Allan Ferchuk Leadership Award was presented to Queens soccer captain Alisha Coules for her role in leading the team to their first-ever ACAC Championship.
Coules led by action encouraging her teammates to give blood during the Bleed Green campaign and volunteered outside of the polytechnic as well. This included helping out with local soccer teams and at animal shelters.
Head coach Mahziar Peyrow said Coules put in countless hours to ensure the team was held to a high standard.
“Alisha knows the importance of being involved in the community as an athlete of RDP. She preaches and demonstrates to raise awareness among athletes, not only for her team but for other teams at the Polytechnic as well,” he said.
She scored a career high 30 points this season with nine goals and 12 assists but also performed well in the classroom. In her studies she earned a 4.0 grade point average in th Fall of 2022 and will graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing.
“The past five years of developing not only tactical skills relevant to the sport but also leadership skills, has all paid off,” Coules said.
“It was wonderful to work with and be a part of a team, that was able to achieve a monumental moment for Queens Soccer in my final year.”
The Red Deer Bottling Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to multi-sport athlete Jenica Swartz who competed not only for Queens soccer but also for the cross country and indoor track teams.
Her final year at RDP was a special one as she performed at a high level in all three sports.
The Lacombe native scored one of two goals for Queens soccer at nationals in Quebec but also finished in the top five in cross country at the ACAC Championship and in the CCAA National Championships.
She also helped the indoor track team complete a banner finish at the ACAC Championships winning three individual gold medals.
Swartz also put in a great effort in her studies in the Bachelor of Science program earning a 3.82 GPA.
RDP Cross Country Running and Indoor Track head coach Doug Spicer said Swartz is a very deserving candidate.
“Jen is an outstanding athlete and an amazing teammate,” he said.
“She leads by example in her training and competing in both cross-country and indoor track, along with being an integral part of the Queens Soccer program. It was a great pleasure working with Jen this year, watching her dominate the competition in her quiet, humble way.”
The Red Deer Bottling Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Kings volleyball setter Maddux Greves for the second year in a row.
Greves won the honour for his leadership on and off the court and for helping his team reach a 17-2 record in the regular season.
Head Coach Aaron Schulha said Greves faced adversity when he got injured during the season but overcame the obstacle.
“Maddux had an ongoing back injury that limited him throughout the season, but he battled through it on a daily basis to try and be a positive impact on his team,” he said.
“Beyond his on-court contributions, he is an outstanding teammate, leader and has a tremendous mind for the game.”
In his final ACAC season, he earned a spot on the ACAC All-Conference and made the CCAA All-Canadian team. He also was named the ACAC South Division Male Volleyball Player of the Year after finishing the season second in the conference with 9.45 assists per set.