Kodiaks prepare for historic championship hosting weekend
Feb. 28, 2017 – With medal hopes high, Lethbridge College embarks on a historic hosting weekend. Hundreds of the top college athletes from Alberta and Saskatchewan converge on Lethbridge this week, as the Kodiaks host the ACAC championship tournaments for both indoor track and women’s basketball as part of Championship Weekend.
The Running Room 2017 ACAC Indoor Track Championships will take place on Friday and Saturday at the University of Lethbridge’s 1st Choice Savings Centre. It marks the first time that Lethbridge has hosted the indoor track championship.
The RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championship runs from Thursday to Saturday in the college’s Val Matteotti Gymnasium. It’s the college’s first time hosting the conference championship for any court sport since the ACAC adopted a tournament format, five seasons ago.
There are medal hopes in both sports for the Kodiaks after tremendous regular season showings, and these events should provide excellent entertainment for local sports fans this week.
The Lethbridge College women’s basketball team is the top seed heading into the eight-team RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championship. The Kodiaks (21-0) completed a second-straight undefeated regular season with a weekend sweep of Briercrest last weekend and enter the tournament as the second-ranked team in Canada.
While the Kodiaks have won 42 straight regular season games, they are a motivated bunch after losing in the ACAC semifinal last season. Brad Karren’s team returned all of its key players from last season and has a chance to go for that elusive ACAC championship on their home court.
“We are really excited about this coming weekend. The girls have played really hard to put us in a good position for the playoffs,” says Karren. “It’s nice to be hosting. I think it will give us an advantage being at home where we feel comfortable and get to play in front of our own fans.”
The Kodiaks have been led by three southern Alberta products this season. Cardston’s Logan Moncks (second year, Business Administration - Management) finished second in ACAC scoring, averaging 22.6 points per game; Raymond’s Sunder West (third year – General Studies) was fourth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game; and, Lundbreck’s Emma Lowry (fourth year, Massage Therapy) was third in ACAC rebounding, averaging 9.7 per game.
Lethbridge’s first action is a quarterfinal against Lakeland College (12-12) at 8 p.m. on Thursday in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium. The Kodiaks beat the Rustlers 82-46 in an exhibition game back on Oct. 6.
Games run all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, leading to the gold medal game at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The full tournament schedule and much more information is available on the championship webpage.
The Kodiaks indoor track team has a number of contenders for medals and will hope for a boost from running in front of its home fans at the Running Room 2017 ACAC Indoor Track Championships.
Lethbridge College hosted an ACAC indoor track meet for the first time in 2016, using the facilities at the University of Lethbridge’s 1st Choice Savings Centre, but this is the Kodiaks first time hosting the conference championship.
The men’s team comes in on a high after winning gold in the 4x400 metre relay in each of the first two meets of the ACAC season. The team finished third in the last meet of the ACAC season in Calgary on Feb. 11, but were just four points out of first place.
“We have high hopes that our men’s team can claim the ACAC indoor title for the third time in four years,” says Kodiaks head coach Bertil Johansson. “Individually, we have threats in each distance, with Boaz Korir and Dayton Jans looking good in the shorter distances, Boaz and Moses Chesseret in the middle distances and Moses and rookie Cristobal Alvarado looking like medal contenders in the longer runs.”
On the women’s side, the Kodiaks are coming off of a sixth-place finish in Calgary, although they were just seven points out of medal contention. The Kodiaks finished in fourth in the season-opening meet in Edmonton and are ranked fourth heading into the championships.
While they don’t have an individual medal yet, Kayla Enders (second year, General Studies) has been right on the edge, with back-to-back fourth place finishes in the 300 metres, and a fourth in the 600 metres in Edmonton as well.
“We’re looking at a potential medal with Kayla,” says Johansson. “She will be a threat this weekend, while we are also expecting big things from Emily Spencer in the long distance events. As a team, our goal is to move into the top three and earn a medal at home.”
Events begin at 5 p.m. on Friday with the 300, 1,000 and 3,000 metre events. The action resumes at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with the 600 and 1,500 metre races and the 4x400 metre relays.
There is no charge for admission to the indoor track championships, but there is limited seating at the 1st Choice Savings Centre that is available on a first come, first served basis. More information on the championships is available on the championship webpage.