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RDP Kings Volleyball CCAA National Championship Preview


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The two most storied men’s volleyball programs in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) will meet on the opening day of the national championship in Québec City.

In a national quarter-final, the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings will challenge the host Limoilou Titans on Friday, March 25. The RDP Kings, who are 20-time Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Champions, lead the CCAA with 13 national gold medals. The Titans follow with 11 titles.

Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Volleyball Head Coach Aaron Schulha expects a lively Titans gymnasium.

“It is going to be fun atmosphere for sure. Limoilou is a mainstay at the national championships and will be a tough first round opponent,” he said. “However, I think our team thrived off being the bad guys up in Edmonton for our ACAC Championship and it will be a similar environment on Friday. They are always well coached, so we will have to execute at a high level.”

Limoilou Head Coach Rock Picard has been part of the Titans coaching staff since 1993. Picard has coached his team to 10 Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) titles. The Titans last earned national gold in 2018. The Limoilou Titans won RSEQ bronze this season.

Outside hitter Reece Lehman (9) 

As many conferences across Canada navigated athletic competition throughout COVID-19, this season has been pushed later than usual, including the recent completion of championship games in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA).

“It’s been a little different than past years with the OCAA not finishing up their conference finals until last Thursday. Things seem a little more rushed than normal with video exchange not happening until Monday,” said Schulha. “However, we now have video on Limoilou and will continue to prepare our guys in a similar fashion to what we have done all year.”

Setter Maddux Greves (4) 

During the playoffs, the Kings have progressively elevated their play and achieved a four set victory over the host NAIT Ooks in the ACAC gold medal match. Since that win, the team has practiced with varying levels of intensity.

“It’s always a fine line to walk at this time of year between keeping the guys healthy and keeping them match ready,” explained Schulha. “Our practices last week were lower impact than we’re accustomed to, but we will ramp up the game play the next couple of days and be well prepared for Friday.”

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings will play the Limoilou Titans on Friday, March 25 at 4 pm MDT.

Fans will be able to watch the match online.

The six other teams competing at nationals are:

Géants du Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu – Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) gold
St. Thomas Tommies – Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) gold
Camosun Chargers – Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) gold
CMU Blazers – Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) gold
Humber Hawks – OCAA gold
Redeemer Royals – OCAA wildcard

At the conclusion of Friday’s competition, the time of the Kings’ next game along with their opponent will be listed online.

Middle Dillon Gauci (18)

RDPolytech Athletics

Two graduating athletes win major awards, local sprint star takes home female athlete of the year

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Red Deer Bottling Female Athlete of the Year, Indoor Track and Cross Country runner Loami Rautenbach (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and Red Deer Bottling Male Athlete of the Year, Hockey assistant captain Jacob Wozney 

One hundred ninety student-athletes. Thirty-six coaches. Ten student-trainers. One night to cap off an incredible 2023/2024 athletics season at Red Deer Polytechnic where three championship banners were hung in the rafters inside the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Tonight, Red Deer Polytechnic held its annual Athletics Banquet which highlighted the academic and athletic achievements of student-athletes, along with the support from coaches, student-trainers, staff, sponsors and donors throughout the 2023/2024 season. Multiple awards were given out, including the Allan Ferchuk Leadership Award, Red Deer Bottling Male and Female Athletes of the Year and Team Awards (Coaches, Most Improved, Most Valuable and Rookie of the Year). Randy Stewart, Manager of Athletics and Student Life, explained that this event is a yearly reminder of what makes coming to the office every day so rewarding.

“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. This event not only provides an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our student-athletes and coaches, but we also 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.”

This year, Queens Hockey forward Avery Lajeunesse (Bachelor of Education) received the Allan Ferchuk Leadership Award. She is a student-athlete who captained her team to a second-place regular season finish.

Lajeunesse is proud to call herself a Queen and is more than willing to offer her time to mold young student-athletes into becoming ambassadors of the program. On top of her 3.80 grade point average, she also made time to volunteer in the community. The fifth-year forward read to kids at the library while also volunteering with the First Shift which is a program to help ease kids and families into a fun and positive hockey environment.

Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter explained Lajeunesse is an inspirational leader on the ice with her competitive level and work ethic. “Avery is so welcoming to all individuals who come to our dressing room from first-year players to recruits and prospects. Her devotion to the team being successful has instilled in the players who will continue here what Queens culture is all about. When she leaves, she will be the one we say has left an incredible legacy in her time wearing the crown.”

In her final season as a Queen, Lajeunesse finished in the top five of the scoring race with 11 goals while adding 10 assists. She was named an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) First Team All-Star. Lajeunesse finished with 50 points in her five seasons with RDP, achieving a career-high in goals, assists and points during the 2023/2024 season.

When the all-star forward looked back on her final season wearing the crown and her last four years with RDP, Lajeunesse explained without being a Queen, she would have never met some of her closest friends. “Over the course of my five years as a Queen, I have had such an amazing opportunity to make so many incredible memories. As a team we did many different team building events which my favourite definitely was the ropes course. I was able to learn so many new things about my teammates which ultimately helped us become closer as a team.”

While thriving on the ice, Lajeunesse also succeeded in the classroom as she obtained a 3.80 grade point average in her final year at RDP.

The Red Deer Bottling Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Queens Indoor Track and Cross Country runner Loami Rautenbach (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). Rautenbach’s first full year as a student-athlete at Red Deer Polytechnic was outstanding.

Douglas Spicer, RDP Cross Country Running and Indoor Track Head Coach, stated Rautenbach was a cross country rookie who was consistently a scoring member for the team, but it was during the Indoor Track season when she really made an impact. “On the track, she was our ‘Swiss army knife, running three individual distances where she won ACAC gold and silver while also anchoring both relays to impressive victories. Loami is a great teammate and one of the most coachable athletes I have had the privilege of working with.”

Following her impressive performance at the 2024 ACAC Indoor Track Championships, Rautenbach was named the Women’s Indoor Track Runner of the Year while also obtaining a 3.46 GPA in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She said RDP Athletics is special to her, specifically her teammates as they are supportive and close with one another.

“Some of my favourite memories since becoming a Queen on the RDP Indoor Track are our team pasta dinners the evening before a race, Monday morning long runs with the girls and our chant before our cross country races. The coaches are amazing as well as the physiotherapy staff who have helped me overcome a couple of injuries throughout my time at RDP.”

Lastly, Jacob Wozney was named the Red Deer Bottling Male Athlete of the Year. The Kings Hockey assistant captain led by example every day with his tremendous work ethic and desire to be his best. Head Coach Trevor Keeper said Wozney is the perfect example of an athlete who is here to help his team and teammates be the best that they can possibly be.

“He’s a first team ACAC All-Star and arguably the most complete forward in the league. Jacob has an incredible work ethic and his drive helped the Kings Hockey team immensely in our last two seasons where the team was crowned as champions.”

In his final year as a King, the fifth-year forward put up a career high in goals and assists to finish with 30 points in the regular season. He finished eight points shy of the 100-point mark while scoring 45 goals and totaling 47 assists in his five-year career. The Bachelor of Education student finished the Fall Term with a 3.23 GPA.

Wozney explained the awards banquet is a nice way to get together with the other teams and celebrate each and every accomplishment. “It is important that we recognize and celebrate not only our own personal success but the success of every athlete who wears the crown. It reminds us of the lasting legacy that the athletes who have worn the crown before us have left, something I hope to leave as I finish my college athletics career as a King.”

The Bachelor of Education student-athlete was one of seven Kings hockey players to graduate following the end of the 2023/2024 season.

The Kings and Queens Athletics season will kick off on September 7, 2024 when the Soccer teams head to SAIT to take on the Trojans in Calgary. The Polytechnic’s first home match will take place the following day when they host the Olds College Broncos.

Team Awards

Kings Basketball

Coach’s Award – Parker Weinrauch
Most Improved Player – MacGregor Manyluk
Most Valuable Player – Jose Mauro
Rookie of the Year – Deandre Rowe

Queens Basketball

Coach’s Award – Sadie Jeffries
Most Improved Player – Janai Hubert
Most Valuable Player – Sandra Garcia-Bernal
Rookie of the Year – Salome Nuako


Coach’s Award – Zoey Longman
Most Improved Player – Georgia Sawchuk
Most Valuable Player – Justine Larson
Rookie of the Year – Dylan Leadlay


Coach’s Award – Sam Goodey
Most Improved Player – Teryn Harder
Most Valuable Player – Cassidy Blair
Rookie of the Year – Aiden Berube

Kings Hockey

Coach’s Award – Chance Longjohn
Most Improved Player – Sean Michalevich
Most Valuable Player – Jacob Wozney
Rookie of the Year – Dawson Leroux

Queens Hockey

Coach’s Award – Brooke Skrypichayko
Most Improved Player –Hayley Kolosky
Most Valuable Player – Avery Lajeunesse
Rookie of the Year – Tora Ward

Kings Soccer

Coach’s Award – Eshay Fernandes
Most Improved Player – Brian Murray

Most Valuable Player – Ajdin Sarcevic
Rookie of the Year – Njegos Bajovic

Queens Soccer

Coach’s Award – Grace Smith
Most Improved Player – Cara Lord
Most Valuable Player – Kayla Yeo
Rookie of the Year – Payton Erick

Kings Volleyball

Coach’s Award – Jonathan (JJ) Graham
Most Improved Player – Zach Neufeld
Most Valuable Player – Noah Carlson
Rookie of the Year – Owen Langberg

Queens Volleyball

Coach’s Award – Jaiden Ferguson
Most Improved Player – Jailyn Stouffer
Most Valuable Player – Emma Holmes
Rookie of the Year – Raya Roesler

Team Service Awards

Kings Basketball – Jesse Bonsu
Queens Basketball – Jessica Hennelly
Cross-Country – Jenna Schnare
Curling – Andrew Jones
Kings Hockey – Zach Noble
Queens Hockey – Michael Gundran
Kings Soccer – Jaden Humphrey
Queens Soccer – McKenna Richelhoff
Kings Volleyball – Jillyn Halldorson
Queens Volleyball – Mandy Carroll

Minor Officials Award

Beth Ferchuk, Ed Duiker

Student Trainer Recognition

Jon Walsh Memorial Kings Volleyball Student-Trainer Scholarship – Jillyn Halldorson
Red Deer Bottling Kings Pit Crew Award – Ethan West
Red Deer Bottling Queens Pit Crew Award – Estel Quinteros

STRIDE Student-Trainer Scholarship – Alissa Berwick
Tim Hamilton Student-Trainer Queen Award – Zachary Noble
Tim Hamilton Queens Hockey Student Trainer – Brook Dunn
Red Deer Bottling Student Trainer Award – Shyla Jenkins
Red Deer Bottling Student Trainer Award – Jade Gaudet
Red Deer Bottling/Truant Family Student Trainer Award – Michael Gundran

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RDPolytech Athletics

RDP Kings claim consecutive ACAC Championships

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The Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) Kings are back-to-back Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men’s Hockey Champions.

The Concordia University Thunder played their best in this elimination game, but Kings’ forward Jaxon Steele ended game three 3-2 in double overtime and ultimately the best-of-five championship series.

“We talked about it before the game, during the periods and going into overtime about sticking to the process. A line I used with them is, don’t go out there and think that I got to score and put that pressure on yourself. We’re going to get it done,” said Trevor Keeper, Kings Hockey Head Coach. “If you play like that, you play with less fear and make things happen. Jaxon Steele got the winner because of that kind of attitude.”

Longjohn (11)

The RDP Kings opened the scoring at 11:41 of the middle frame. Captain Chance Longjohn picked up the puck on the left boards, drove wide and tucked it inside the far post behind Thunder goaltender Griffin Bowerman.

The Concordia University Thunder evened the contest 1-1 with 12:23 remaining in the third period. On a five-on three Thunder power play, Kings goaltender Arik Weersink made the initial save, but Concordia’s Isaac Leik cashed in the rebound.

Miller (94)

Then the Kings’ power play went to work nine minutes later. Longjohn, a Second All-Conference team selection, skated behind the Thunder net and sent it out front for teammate Erik Miller. The third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student roofed it over Bowerman’s glove.

With Bowerman pulled for the extra skater, the visitors knotted it up 2-2 with less than two minutes left in the third period. Concordia’s fourth-year forward Brandon Wallis found room on Weersink’s glove side, but it didn’t seem to faze the fifth-year netminder.

Weersink (72)

“I have to be the calmest guy on the ice. If you’re shaky behind them, they will be shaky in front of you,” said Weersink. “That was my biggest thing – breathe. I’ve been here before. I have full confidence in them and in return they have full confidence in me and it showed.”

In the second overtime period, Bowerman kicked out a shot from Kings’ forward Dawson Leroux to the slot where teammate Steele deposited the rebound into the net at 7:30.

Then the Kings flooded the ice in celebration


“Every guy wants to win his last game and we are fortunate that we did,” added Weersink, who was named the North Star Sports Kings Player of the Game and the Playoff MVP “There is no other group than I’d rather do this with.”

In five playoff games, Lethbridge’s Weersink won all five starts and recorded an impressive 1.89 goals against average and 0.934 save percentage.

“He’s our all-time leader in wins. This year, he’s 27 years old. We had to do some management with him – his knees were bugging him,” noted Keeper. “In the playoffs, he just played through the pain. He was really dialed in and focused and really deserving of the Playoff MVP.”

Over five seasons in a Kings’ uniform, Weersink had an outstanding record in net, winning 44 regular season games and only dropping 17.

Bowerman received the Thunder Player of the Game.

Both teams went one-for-five on the power play.

It is challenging to win an ACAC Championship, let along back-to-back gold medals.

“It’s going to mean a lot more in the future, I think. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Al Ferchuk texted me tonight and he said winning back-to-back is hard to do,” noted Keeper. “This program hasn’t done it since he coached. It was a really nice message to get from Al before the game.”

The RDP Kings last won consecutive championships in 1977 and 1978.

As Weersink wears the Kings’ uniform for the final time, he reflects on his time at Red Deer Polytechnic fondly.

“Hopefully, I get into Optometry School, which is sad to say because it’s the end of the road for RDP and playing hockey. It’s tough to give up the game because I’ve been playing it my entire life,” he shared. “You build these relationships. Those I’ll take with me. We will have another banner that will hang up there forever. I won’t forget about any of these guys, that’s for sure.”

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