Brent Forster, RDC College
Red Deer, September 14, 2019 – Running conditions were nearly ideal at Red Deer College for Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Running Room Grand Prix #2. The 20 degree temperature with a slight breeze helped set up the racers for some very impressive performances.
Paced by Shayla Sklaruk (25:52.98), the Red Deer College Queens took top spot on their home course with 14 team points. Ana Zulic (26:05.50) helped guide the Concordia University Thunder women to second with 26 points. With 55 points, the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings captured third. Catherine Alcorn (29:22.43) led the way for the Augustana women.
Individually, RDC's Shayla Sklaruk (25:52.98) completed the 6 km course first among ACAC women. Concordia's Ana Zulic (26:05.50) was next, just over 12 seconds behind Sklaruk. The Queens' Jill Stewart (26:25.55) wrapped up third spot.
The RDC Kings also placed first as a group. Devin Saunders (28:24.98) had a strong day and led the Kings to 21 team points. Only four points higher, the SAIT Trojans took second spot on the strength of an impressive outing from Brant Lauweryssen (28:27.52). Nathanael Tabert (30:37.06) helped guide the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings to third place with 55 points.
|Leonard Chesoo (CUE)|
Concordia's Leonard Chesoo (25:30.81) was absolutely outstanding over 8 km among ACAC men, completing the four 2 km loops in first, nearly three minutes quicker than second place Devin Saunders (28:24.98) of the Kings. SAIT's Brant Lauweryssen (28:27.52) was less than three seconds behind Saunders, placing the talented Trojans' runner in third spot.
RDC Cross Country Running Head Coach Kari Elliott appreciated the persistence from her team.
"My first initial thought is just pride. There were some expected performances but then there were those that over performed too. I saw in our athletes a lot of grit and determination," she says. "A few looked like they wanted to call it day, about half-way through, but they rallied and fought hard to the finish. That probably made me the most proud is seeing that determination to hold on when they're hurting."
Elliott was proud of the results, but expressed cautious optimism with a few colleges absent. "The results were fantastic, but seeing the way they ran the course was even more fantastic to me," she says. "We were missing a couple of institutions today, including Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. I learned that a lot of things can change over the course of a season. We have to work hard and get more fit."
The focus among many ACAC Cross Country Running teams will shift to Grande Prairie for Running Room Grand Prix #3 on Saturday, September 21. Grande Prairie will also be the site of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Running National Championships on November 9, 2019.
The full team and individual results from Running Room Grand Prix #2 can be viewed online.