Three national champions and a fourth team which finished second by a whisker, in addition several other teams and individuals who performed quite well – that’s the tale of the tape for Red Deer College athletics last season and so the question is how do you top that performance?
“I have been asked that question plenty of times and when I am trying to be funny I say you just win more championships,” said Athletic Director Keith Hansen. “To be honest with you I think we just really try to focus on the process. We’ve adopted the saying last year that excellence is a verb and I really think you try every day to be as good as you can possibly be.”
One would think the coaches and players coming back for another season at RDC would feel a little tightness having to follow in the giant footsteps of last year’s teams but Hansen says pressure is a privilege at RDC.
“We talked a lot with our athletes about when you’re good, there’s expectations and when there’s expectations there’s pressure and that’s good. I like to think we keep pushing the bar higher and higher and then we just ask people to try to get to it.”
It’s easy to forget that these young men and women are students as well as athletes and Hansen says it’s a source of pride at RDC to see them perform well in their sport and the classroom.
“We had, I think it was over 60 per cent of our students get athletic excellence awards last year. We had I think it was 12 or 14 national scholars. They’re good students and they’re good people in the community and I think they’re wonderful leaders. I think it would be a hollow victory if we just left with championships as opposed to better people.”
The fallout from the titles won by the two volleyball teams and the women’s curling team is how that success could breed more when it comes to recruiting top caliber players to RDC.
“We’ve had a phenomenal year recruiting for our sports teams and I suspect we’re going to be pretty good again.”