Nowicki earns national XC gold, women’s team silver
Lethbridge College Kodiaks cross country runner Sophia Nowicki capped a perfect season with her first Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national title in November. Nowicki also helped the Kodiaks earn a team silver medal in the women’s competition at the championships hosted by Toronto’s Seneca College. Nowicki (second year, Nursing, Bragg Creek, Alta.) crossed the finish line in 23:32, finishing the 6-km course four seconds ahead of the silver medalist. She completed a perfect season, winning both the CCAA and Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championships, along with all four of her ACAC Grand Prix events, and she was named a CCAA All-Canadian. The Kodiaks women’s team earned a silver medal, finishing with 67 points. The Kodiaks were 22 points behind the gold medalists from Fanshawe College, and 14 points ahead of the bronze medalists from Red Deer College. Emily Spencer was the next highest finishing Kodiaks runner in 13th place. The Kodiaks men’s team finished 15th, led by Connor Jackson, who was 15th.
Soccer teams shine at ACACs
The Kodiaks women’s soccer team entered the October ACAC championships as underdogs but shocked the conference to win the bronze medal, earning the program’s first playoff wins and medal since 1994. The women beat The King’s University in an ACAC quarterfinal but went on to lose against eventual south division champion SAIT in the semifinal. A thriller in the bronze medal game against Concordia pushed the Kodiaks to the podium. After ending regulation in a 1-1 draw, the team won in penalty kicks with goalkeeper Paige Gattafoni making the key last stop. The Kodiaks men also had a shot at a medal, but came up just short. The Kodiaks started with a 3-1 win over The King’s University in the quarterfinal, but the team lost 4-0 to NAIT in the semifinal. In the bronze medal game against SAIT, a goal in the final minutes by Taylor Laviolette tied the game, but the Kodiaks lost in penalty kicks.
Six soccer players named ACAC all-stars
Three men’s players and three women’s players were named to ACAC south division all-star soccer teams. Those named on the men’s side were striker Wilson Ntignee (third year, Administrative Office Professional, Nigeria) who finished second in the ACAC with 13 goals; midfielder Ben Knight (second year, General Studies, England), who captained the Kodiaks and finished fourth in the ACAC in assists; and defender David Low (first year, General Studies, England), who was the defensive leader for the team that finished second in the division in goals against. On the women’s side, the Kodiaks all-stars were forward Kayla Kehoe (first year, General Studies, Edmonton), who was third on the Kodiaks with four goals and was fifth in the ACAC in shots; midfielder Christine Moser (second year, Exercise Science, Whitehorse, Yukon), who had three goals; and defender Aimee Santangelo (fifth year, General Studies, Lethbridge), who helped the Kodiaks to the second best defensive record in the south division.
Johansson earns ACAC honours as he hangs up his cleats
Kodiaks long-time head cross country and indoor track coach Bertil Johansson completed his coaching career with an abundance of honours for his runners and himself this fall. At the ACAC championships in October, just after the women’s team won individual and team gold awards and the men’s team won bronze, Johansson received the Al Bohonus Recognition Award, an honour given to outgoing ACAC Executive Committee members and sport conveners, as well as other individuals who make a significant contribution to the ACAC. Johansson, who is retiring following this season, is just the third coach to earn the award since 2010. He took over the Kodiaks cross country program from coach Mary Wall in January 1987, and he led the Kodiaks women’s team to its first ACAC championship that fall. Hired by long-time Lethbridge College athletic director Tim Tollestrup, Johansson says the Kodiaks team at that time was mainly made up of local southern Alberta runners, mostly from the Nursing and Law Enforcement programs. He says he focused on expanding the program to incorporate students from all programs, and extended his recruiting focus both out-of-province and internationally. In 2014, he added the responsibility of coaching the indoor track team when that sport was introduced to the ACAC. By the end of his 32nd and final season as cross country coach, his teams and athletes in cross country and indoor track had earned 56 gold medals at both the ACAC and CCAA levels as well as more than 100 conference and national honours.
Carey earns double coach of the year honours
Kodiaks soccer head coach Sean Carey has earned a historic honour, being named both women’s and men’s coach of the year in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) south division. Carey is the first coach to ever earn both the men’s and women’s awards in the same season. In his second season at the helm of both teams, Carey coached the men’s team to second place in the ACAC south division with a 7-3-2 record, while guiding the women’s squad to third place in the division with a 6-4-2 record, and a return to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Carey went forward as the ACAC nominee for men’s coach of the year at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) awards in November. Carey is just the third coach in ACAC history to win both men’s and women’s coach of the year honours in their careers, joining legendary Kodiaks coach and ACAC Hall of Famer Alvin Tietz, and Jim Loughlin of Medicine Hat College.
Hats off to last year’s CCAA Academic All-Canadians
Nine Lethbridge College student-athletes were among the 181 announced as the 2017-18 CCAA Academic All-Canadian award recipients last spring, just after Wider Horizons went to press. The award is the CCAA’s most prestigious student-athlete honour, epitomizing a commitment to academic success and athletic achievement. Among those honoured were basketball players Amy Arbon, Keanu Funa and Michael Clemons; cross country runners Sophia Nowicki and Emily Spencer; soccer players Braydon Jetten and Kohl Wandyka; and volleyball players Kristine Ward and Matthew Primrose.
Kodiaks 'played for Payden'
The Kodiaks women’s soccer team received motivational support from the start to the end of the season from a teammate who returned to the sidelines after a serious injury over the summer. Payden Olsen led the cheering at the opening game of the season, just over a month after losing her right foot in an accident at her home in Cardston. Olsen was named the Kodiaks newcomer of the year last season and was expected to be a key defender this season. Her team looked to her as a motivational leader as they dedicated their home opener against SAIT to her. She returned to Calgary to cheer the team on again in their ACAC championship games.