Kodiaks look to defend cross country provincial championships

Oct. 27, 2016 – One year ago, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks swept the ACAC gold medals in both the men’s and women’s divisions. While they haven’t been quite as dominant this season, neither side is ready yet to relinquish their crowns as the 2016 ACAC championships take place on Saturday in Grande Prairie.

The Kodiaks women’s team has had a strong season, finishing first or second in each of the three ACAC races it has competed in this season. The team is led by breakout star Rachel McKenzie (a fourth year Nursing student from Nelson, B.C.) who won her first-ever ACAC gold medal in the season-opening race in Calgary, and followed it up with golds in each of the next two events as well, going a perfect three-for-three in her outings this year. She is one of the clear favourites heading into the championships, and is bolstered by a team that includes outstanding rookie Emily Spencer (a first year Nursing student from Calgary) who has three top-four finishes this season.

On the men’s side, the Kodiaks have finished in the top-three in each of their three races this season, including earning a gold medal late last month at Lakeland College. Boaz Korir (a second year Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology student from Kenya) has led the charges, earning two silvers and a bronze medal so far this season. The Kodiaks team is bolstered by former two-time ACAC champion Edwin Kaitany (a third year Practical Nursing student from Kenya), who has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons, but still has two top-five finishes this year, and Alex Andres (a third year Criminal Justice – Policing student from Wetaskiwin, Alta.) who has finished sixth in each of the first three races of the season.

“Rachel McKenzie has been our star so far,” says Bertil Johansson, Kodiaks cross country coach. “But Emily, Boaz, Edwin and Alex are all threats to earn medals, and although both of our teams go in to the championships ranked second, we expect that they have the talent and ability to compete for gold.”

The women’s 5 km race begins at noon, with the men’s 8 km event at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Grande Prairie.

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The Kodiaks volleyball teams play a home-and-home series with Calgary’s Ambrose College this weekend.

Coming off the school’s first-ever win over powerhouse Red Deer College last weekend, the Kodiaks women’s team looks to move up in the ACAC standings as it faces the Lions this weekend. Lethbridge and Ambrose enter action with matching 3-1 records. Kristine Ward (a first year Massage Therapy student from Brandon, Man.) has been an early sensation for the Kodiaks, sitting fifth in the ACAC in service aces and seventh overall in kills.

On the men’s side, the Kodiaks (1-3) and Lions (2-2) both look to snap two-game losing streaks as they meet for the first time this season. Reigning ACAC all-star Andre Pires (a third year General Studies student from Brazil) hasn’t missed a beat this year, sitting fourth in the ACAC in digs with 28.

On Friday, the teams are in Calgary, then are in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium on Saturday with the women beginning at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m. Saturday’s games are also Kodiaks Dig Pink night, which feature giveaways and raffles with all proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, youth and alumni, $3 for college employees and free for Lethbridge College students. All games can also be viewed on ACAC TV.