With the 2018-19 Thunder Athletics season on pause for exam and Christmas break, lets have a look at some of the accomplishments from the first half of the season:
The Thunder golf team had a great season on the links. At the ACAC Championships in Red Deer, AB the men’s team finished in 2nd place (631) and the women’s team 3rd (344) which qualified both teams for the CCAA National Championships in Medicine Hat, AB. Neither team was able to crack the podium as the women’s team finished 7th overall and the men’s team 11th overall.
Rookie golfer Kennedy Turcotte had a year to remember as she won ACAC Silver in the ladies individual and was named CCAA All-Canadian at national championships.
Cross Country Running:
The Cross Country Running team had an amazing season! New recruit Leonard Chesoo had a very promising rookie campaign as he cracked the podium in each of his races including 1st(x2), 2nd, and 3rd place finishes. At the ACAC Cross Country Championships hosted by Lakeland College, Leonard won a silver medal posting a time of 25:46 for the 8km race earning himself a ticket to the CCAA National Championships in Toronto. Leonard would also claim 2nd at nationals earning his first CCAA medal!
The women’s team also had an incredible season as they would end up finishing in 3rd place at ACAC Championships which would also qualify them for nationals where they would place 10th overall. 5th year runner, Elise Nawrocki, had herself an incredible season individually as she finished 5th overall in the conference and placed 9th nationals running a time of 24:43.
With a lot of new faces on the team this year, the young women’s soccer team was able to meet a lot of expectations this season as they were nationally ranked for most of the season finishing 3rd in the ACAC North with a 5-3-2 record earning them a ticket to the ACAC Conference Championships hosted by the SAIT Trojans. They were able to win their quarter final match against Red Deer College 4-1 however they would lose a heartbreaking match in the semi’s against their conference rival NAIT 1-0. The Thunder ended up finishing in fourth place as they fell to the Lethbridge Kodiaks 2-1 in the bronze medal match. The ladies are already looking forward to next season as they will host the CCAA National Championships in November 2019.
The following ladies were named to the ACAC All Conference North Team:
Rebecca Leavell - Forward
Paige Martin - Midfielder
Kennedy Ballam – Defense
After failing to find the podium during the 2017-18 campaign, the Thunder men’s soccer team bounced back with an excellent performance on the pitch this season. The men were ranked nationally throughout the season and finished with a 6-2-2 record leaving them 2nd in the North heading into the ACAC Soccer Championships. The Thunder were able to win their opening match against Red Deer College 1-0 which would advance them to the semifinals against the #1 team in the nation, the SAIT Trojans. Adam Ziccarelli had the game of his career as the fourth-year keeper stopped 13 shots through 120 minutes of play, followed by two penalty kicks at the end of the game to lead his team to a 1-0 victory, advancing the Thunder to the championship final. Their glory was short lived, the Thunder would have to settle for a well-deserved silver medal as they were defeated by their city rival, the NAIT Ooks 6-0.
The following players were named to the ACAC All Conference Team North:
Mas Ayra - Forward
Armaan Bhinder - Midfielder
Kenny Johnson - Defense
With five new recruits this offseason, the Thunder men’s hockey team were not only looking to make playoffs for their 3rd season in a row, but looking to advance past the first round. Injuries plagued the Thunder throughout the first half of the season as they couldn’t keep a healthy bench and let some close games slip away. In the final week of the semester, the Thunder managed to go 5-2 to climb into the 6th and final playoff spot with 8 points heading into the break. The Thunder will resume regular season play on January 11th when they visit the (9-5) Augustana Vikings.
Both 5th year forward Phil Dillon (8G, 7A) and 4th year forward Adam Wheeldon (2G, 13A) lead the Thunder in scoring with 15 points.
The women’s volleyball team had a tough start to the season as they head into the second semester with a (3-9) losing record. The Thunder had a glimpse of a playoff team at the end of November when they swept their city rivals, the NAIT Ooks. Currently the Thunder are 6 points behind the Keyano Huskies who hold the final playoff spot in the north. The Thunder will resume play on January 4th when they host the (5-7) GPRC Wolves for the weekend.
Avery Plandowski (162 Assist)
Kayla Whiteman Kyte (105 points, 91 kills, 66 digs)
Tianna Smith (79 points, 66 kills)
Shae McDonald (111 digs)
Coming off of an impressive season in 2017-18 when they clinched a playoff birth for the first time in history, the Thunder did not get off to the start they were hoping for as they have a (2-10) losing record heading into the second half of the season. Their record does not serve the team justice as they have battled in just about every set this season against every team. The boys are looking forward to a new start in January when they host the (2-10) GPRC Wolves in their first weekend back in action to push for a playoff spot.
Kennan Forstey (173 points, 133 kills, 86 digs)
Ryan Teliske (149 points, 129 kills, 106 digs)
Trecito Gansan (131 assist)
Damien Leroy (145 digs)
The women’s basketball team ended their first half of the season on a good note as they swept the GPRC Wolves at home to leave them 2nd in the North with an (8-4) winning record. The Thunder sit only 4 points back of the leading Augustana Vikings and since the Keyano Huskies are hosting the ACAC Championships this year, it leaves only three playoff spots available which will make for a very interesting finish down the stretch. The ladies will need to keep the momentum rolling in the second half of the season!
Danielle MacLellan (181 points, FG %45.7, 92 rebounds)
Ann Ulmer (131 points, FG %50, 62 rebounds) *5th in the ACAC for FG percentage
Lacey Weddle (117 points, 30 assist)
With a lot of new faces on the roster this season for the men’s basketball team, the Thunder were still able to repeat last year’s success as a dominant force in the ACAC north. Their perfect start the season came to an end when the GPRC Wolves handed them their first pair of losses to finish the semester with a 10-2 record to claim top spot in the North. The Thunder were ranked nationally throughout the semester reaching as high as 7th! The season will resume play on January 11th when they host the (6-6) Lakeland Rustlers.
Ryan McLaren (275 points, FT% 88.8, FG% 43.3, 73 rebounds) * Leads the ACAC in points
Ronald Bacon Jr. (168 points, TF% 63, FG% 41.8, 3PT% 38.3, 65 rebounds)
Julien McFadden (122 points, FG% 41.1, 17 steals, 97 rebounds)
Keaton Souster (101 points, FG% 57.7, 17 Steals, 32 assist) *3rd in ACAC FG%
Both the Thunder men’s and women’s curling teams are looking for a repeat visit to CCAA national championships under new head coach Taina Smiley. The curling season has only just begun as ACAC Bonspiel #1 took place in Red Deer at the end of November. It was by no means the start everyone anticipated, but the men managed to go 4-2 finishing in 2nd place while the women had their struggles at first but managed to end the tournament 2-4 for a 5th place finish. There is some work to do for the Thunder to get into championships form as they prepare for their next tournament on January 25-26, 2019 hosted by the MacEwan Griffins.
Coming off of a year to remember, the Thunder badminton team is once again looking promising this season after a successful ACAC tournament #1 hosted by the Kings Eagles. Returning for the Thunder are national champions Desmond and Takeisha Wang who are set on bringing home another national title this season.
Results from ACAC Tournament #1:
Takeisha Wang 1st Place (Women’s Singles)
Braxton Wong 3rd Place (Men’s Singles)
Braxton Wong/Desmond Wang 1st Place (Men’s Doubles)
Kaylee Morris/Kassidy Turcotte 3rd Place (Women’s Doubles)
Takeisha Wang/Desmond Wang 1st Place (Mixed Doubles)
The Thunder are currently ranked 4th in the nation and it is anticipated that this will climb throughout the season! The next ACAC tournament will be held on January 13th at Olds College.