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RDPolytech Athletics

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


12 minute read

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

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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RDPolytech Athletics

Wiens and Iyamu leading RDP Athletics into final weekend of 2023

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Red Deer Polytechnic is proud to announce The Gutter RDP Athletes of the Week:

1. Dani Wiens
Hometown: Regina, SK
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (3rd year)

Despite just playing one match this weekend, Queens setter Dani Wiens had an outstanding match on both sides of the court in their three-set win against the Concordia University Thunder. Coming off a three-set loss to The Kings University Eagles, the Queens were really looking to bounce back with a dominant performance and so they did. RDP managed to sweep the Thunder in three straight sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-15) to improve to 7-2 on the season and sit at the top of the South Division with one match left to go in 2023.

Wiens was named the player of the match for her outstanding 39 assists and 12 dig performance in the win. This averaged out to 13 assists per set which is incredible, but it was not a match or career-high for the setter out of Regina. Earlier this season, she had 44 in their four-set win against the SAIT Trojans and this past February, she tied the RDP and ACAC single-match record for assists with 57.

Head Coach Talbot Walton said this was a pretty impressive feat and explained Wiens started out the set strong which led to her running an effective offence throughout the rest of the match. “Thirteen assists per set is huge for a setter. Dani got into the groove of the game in the early goings of the
match and was able to move our hitters around to find some gaps to attack in. But she was also big for us at the net, blocking balls as well as going on runs from the service line.”

She now sits in seventh place in the conference in assists, averaging seven per set with the ACAC leader just under 10. The Queens will hit the road this weekend for a clash with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.

Congratulations Dani and keep running the efficient offence like we know you can!

2. Efe Iyamu
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Open Studies (3rd year)

Kings guard Efe Iyamu and the Kings Basketball team extended their winning streak to six games with victories over the Concordia University Thunder on Friday and The Kings University Eagles on Saturday. The Kings now sit in a three-way tie for first in the South Division with the St. Mary’s Lightning and the SAIT Trojans.

Iyamu played an important role in the Polytechnic’s win against the Thunder on Friday night. The guard from Toronto dropped an incredible 20 points in the first half of the game and finished with a career-high 28 points in the Kings 87-83 victory. Despite being held to just eight points in the second half, Iyamu finished 10-for-19 from the field and went five-for-eight from downtown Red Deer.

On Saturday night in the massive 116-83 victory over the Eagles, the Open Studies student-athlete had 11 points in 21 minutes played. He currently is averaging 16.4 points per game which is a team-high and is shooting 43 per cent from the field in his first season in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).

The Kings will be in action for their final two games of the 2023 year this weekend. They will head to Olds College on Friday night to battle with the Broncos before heading back up to Red Deer for an 8 pm tip-off on Saturday for a rematch.

Congratulations Efe and welcome to RDP!

This Week in Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics

In the final week of regular season action of 2023, all Red Deer Polytechnic teams will be in action starting with the Queens Hockey team in Olds College on Thursday to take on the Broncos. The Queens will return to Red Deer on Friday for a rematch against the Broncos. In other hockey action, the Kings Hockey team will head out on the road for two games against the Briercrest College Clippers to close out the first half of the season.

The basketball teams will head down to Olds College to battle the Broncos on Friday before returning home on Saturday for the second game of the doubleheader.

In volleyball action, the Kings and Queens will also be on the road to close out the 2023 calendar year as they head down to Lethbridge College to take on the Kodiaks for two matches.

Lastly, the curling teams will make their 2023/2024 season debut this weekend as they compete in the Fall Regional hosted at the Lloydminster Golf & Curling Centre.

Please refer to the information below for more details regarding the weekend games and matches.


Queens (8-0) vs Olds College Broncos (1-7)
• Friday, November 24 | 6 pm in Olds
• Saturday, November 25 | 6 pm in Red Deer

Coming off two victories over the Concordia University Thunder and The Kings University Eagles, the
Queens will look to take their undefeated season into the new year as they battle the Olds College Broncos this weekend. Last season in February, the Queens swept the season series against the Broncos with two victories.

Guard Sandra Garcia-Bernal had 13 points while playing all 40 minutes in the 79-71 victory. She followed this up with a double-double performance with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Spanish guard will be someone to watch in the next few games as she is currently 18 steals away from tying the all-time ACAC record of 350 that took the current record-holder Shea-Lynn Noyes 110 games to accomplish. Garcia-Bernal has played in a total of 88 games in her five-year career with RDP and is averaging eight steals per game this season. This past weekend she broke the ACAC single-game record for steals with 12 in the win against the Thunder.

The Queens will be in Olds on Friday night before heading back home for the second game against the Broncos which will close out the 2023 calendar year for both teams.

Kings (7-1) vs Olds College Broncos (3-5)
• Friday, November 24 | 8 pm in Olds
• Saturday, November 25 | 8 pm in Red Deer

Following two victories this past weekend, the Kings will put their six-game winning streak on the line as they face the Olds College Broncos on Friday and Saturday. In the pre-season, the Broncos gave the Polytechnic a run for their money and forced overtime. But the Kings came out on top with a 92-88 victory with centre Jose Mauro (Business Diploma) dropping 27 points and guard Tyrique Walters (Open Studies) scoring 17 points off the bench.

The Kings also swept the Broncos in the season series last February with two victories over the central
Alberta post-secondary school. Guard Eduardo Crespo (Business Diploma) finished the two games with match-highs in points with 22 in the 88-56 win and 29 in the 85-77 victory. After a game at Olds College on Friday night, the Kings will host the Broncos for a game that will tip-off at 8 pm in Red Deer.


Queens (11-2) vs Olds College Broncos (2-10)
• Thursday, November 23 | 7 pm in Olds
• Friday, November 24 | 7 pm in Red Deer (Friends and Family night)

Like a lot of the teams inside RDP Athletics, the Queens Hockey team is also riding an impressive winning streak into the final week of game action of 2023. Following two losses against the Lakeland College Rustlers in the second week of the season, the Queens have won the next nine and now sit in first place in the conference. This winning streak includes three important wins over the NAIT Ooks.

The Queens will clash with the Olds College Broncos in their traditional Thursday evening game this week before playing in their final game of the 2023 year against the same Broncos. These two teams opened up the 2023/2024 season against each other with RDP coming out on top with a 3-0 win, backstopped by goaltender Tora Ward’s first ACAC shutout of her college career. Defence Kaedence Mollin (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) had a goal and an assist in the win. The puck will drop at 7 pm in both games.

Kings (4-6) at Briercrest College Clippers (8-2)
• Friday, November 24 | 6 pm
• Saturday, November 25 | 1 pm

After a week off from game action, the Kings will be rested and ready to get back into the win column this weekend. But it will not be easy as they will be on the road in Caronport, SK for both games against the Briercrest College Clippers this weekend. This road trip is never easy as it’s long and both games are less than 24 hours apart with the game on Friday commencing at 6 pm and the puck dropping on Saturday’s game at 1 pm.

The Clippers are going to be tough to beat with an 8-2 record so far this season. They currently sit in second place in the conference while the Kings have a 4-6 record and sit in fifth. On this road trip back in February, the Kings won both games and outscored the Clippers 8-6. RDP was actually victorious in all four games against Briercrest last season. The games can be live streamed on ACACTV.


Queens (7-2) at Lethbridge College Kodiaks (2-5)
• Friday, November 24 | 6 pm
• Saturday, November 25 | 1 pm

The Queens will head south for two matches against the Lethbridge College Kodiaks who will host the
ACAC Women’s Volleyball Championship in February 2024. The last time these two teams faced each other was at the ACAC Championship held at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre just a few months ago. The Queens and Kodiaks battled it out in the bronze medal with RDP coming out on top in the fifth set to cap off the season with a third-place finish.

Outside-hitter Jaiden Ferguson (Business Administration) finished with a match-high 25 kills with the Queens Athlete of the Week, Dani Wiens completing her season with a 24-assist performance.
Middle-blocker Autumn Roos (Bachelor of Education) sits in third place in the conference with 0.69 blocks per set with her teammate Rachel Perry coming in third in service aces, averaging 0.64 per set.
The matches can be live streamed on ACACTV at 6 pm on Friday and 1 pm on Saturday.

Kings (9-0) vs Lethbridge College Kodiaks (4-3)
• Friday, November 24 | 8 pm
• Saturday, November 25 | 3 pm

The Kings will join the Queens on the road trip down south to clash with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks who are coming off a tough road trip up north where they dropped two matches against the Keyano College Huskies and the Lakeland College Rustlers. The Kings have just played two matches in the last two weeks where they were victorious against The Kings University Eagles and most recently, the Concordia University Thunder.

In their two victories last November, the Kings did not drop a set against the Kodiaks. Outside-hitter Colby Nemeth (Bachelor of Commerce) led RDP’s offence with a total of 39 kills in the two matches with teammate Brett Lower (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) right behind him with 38. The Kings will have to keep their eyes out for Kodiaks outside-hitter Nolan Moes who is averaging 3.92 kills per set and sits in second in the conference in this category. Moes combined for 40 kills in the two losses
against RDP last season. The matches will start at 8 pm on Friday and 3 pm on Saturday.

Kings and Queens Curling (Fall Regional Bonspiel)

November 24-26 hosted by Lakeland College at the Lloydminster Golf & Curling Centre

The Red Deer Polytechnic Curling Club will slide into their 2023/2024 season debut this weekend as they compete at the Fall Regional Bonspiel held at the Lloydminster Golf & Curling Centre. Red Deer Polytechnic will compete in all three divisions this season: men’s, women’s and mixed. Head Coach Brad Hamilton expects all three teams to be competitive. The Fall Regional is the first of two
bonspiels the curling club will compete in with the second event taking place in January 2024.

After both events are finished, the top four teams from each division will move on to the ACAC Championships hosted by the SAIT Trojans in Airdrie from February 23-25. Stay tuned for the results on Sunday evening or check out for up-to-date results following each day of competition. All three teams will start at 3 pm on Friday afternoon.

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