Story by Aaron Cyr, a member of the RRC Rebels Men's Volleyball Team
As a member of dozens of volleyball teams over my playing and coaching career, I have experienced quite the range of trips. Whether it was a bus trip to Calgary or a cargo van ride to Brandon, there was always a unique adventure to be had. But when RRC Rebels Coach Dan Gilbert informed us this year's trip was not to your typical destination of Saskatchewan, Alberta, or B.C. — but instead to the historic city of Havana, Cuba — I knew this trip would be special.
While a Christmas vacation to Cuba usually suggests 11:00 a.m. wake ups, beach siestas, and plenty of fruity cocktails, our plans were different. We were here to perform. The first four mornings started with 6:30 a.m. alarms, awakening us for early morning practice with Cuba's top volleyballers. After being paired up with a Cuban positional counterpart, we spent some time stretching and warming up, at the same time crossing a language barrier and learning about one another.
Roberto, the Cuban coach, called us "rivals", since we would eventually be on opposite sides of the net. But this was just not so. We became friends. This was difficult, since I spoke as much Spanish as he did English. Communicating with hand gestures — and sometimes just agreeing with "si" — was common. But when we hit the court to compete against each other, we spoke the same language. It wasn't verbal, nor did it involve any hand gestures — just that the sport we had both played our entire lives now gave us common ground. Read More →
Oye como va! Members of the Red River College Rebels Men's Volleyball team will take their training sessions south of the border this holiday season — when they head to Cuba for an eight-day winter escape.
The team will spend Dec. 26 - Jan. 2, at the sunny Hotel Tropicoco near Havana, where they'll train and compete against local athletes while learning about Cuban culture. The trip is being organized with help from the Cuban Ministry of Sport, meaning RRC's Rebels will likely be squaring off against athletes from the Cuban National Team.
"It's a great opportunity to go and train and compete against some very high-level players," says Men's Volleyball Coach Dan Gilbert. "It will also give us an opportunity to learn more about Cuban history ... knowing they have a very strong culture in men's volleyball, it's a great way for us to combine our training with those lessons."
Gilbert says the trip comes at a great time for the team — which currently boasts a number of players with previous Canadian Interuniversity Sport-level experience. To help raise funds, team members are raffling off a chance to accompany the team on their trip.
The lucky winner will receive an all-inclusive trip for two to the same resort — including all travel, meals, beverages, and many daily activities — and will have the option of following the team during their training, or simply soaking up the sights and sounds of Cuba.
Tickets are $20 each, or $50 for a three-pack. The latter option also includes a Rebels Athletics Season Pass, good for admission to all Rebels volleyball, basketball and soccer home matches, as well as the 2013 MCAC Volleyball Championships.
Raffle tickets are available at the front counter of RRC's North Gym, or by contacting Gilbert at (204) 632-2397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red River College will play host to the 2012 Manitoba Colleges Athletics Conference (MCAC) Soccer Championships, running Oct. 20 and 21 at the Notre Dame Campus.
The RRC Rebels Men's team will kick off the tournament at their semi-final match against Providence University College at noon on Saturday. The Rebels Women's team will follow with their own semi-final game against Canadian Mennonite University at 2 p.m.
Ryan Ratushniak, Manager of Athletics and Recreation at RRC, says athletes on both teams are looking forward to the weekend, noting the College has made great strides with its soccer program since fielding teams for the first time in 2011. During last year's MCAC Championships, RRC's men's team finished second, while the women's team finished third.
"This is only our second year with soccer teams in the MCAC, so it is more challenging for us to compete with fully established programs," says Ratushniak.
"That said, our athletes are very skilled, and with the training they have undergone since the beginning of September, they're in a great position to compete for the MCAC Championship."
Click here for a full schedule of this weekend's matches, and here for more information about RRC's soccer program.
Red River College’s Rebels Athletics program is pleased to welcome the following new recruits to the men's volleyball team:
Brad Angus – 6’ 4” Outside Hitter
Angus joins Red River after competing in the 2011-2012 season with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Prior to joining the Wesmen, he captured a silver medal as a member of the 2011 Western Canada Games team. Angus is a graduate of Dakota Collegiate, where his team was named the 2010 AAAA Provincial Champions.
Zach Duncan - 6’6” Middle/Outside Hitter
Duncan competed in the 2010-2011 season with the University of Manitoba Bisons. Prior to joining the Bisons he was a gold medalist at both the 2010 18U Provincial and National Championships. He was also the co-captain of his Miles MacDonnell Collegiate team that reached the AAAA Provincial Final Four. Duncan was named a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star, and also selected to the All Manitoba Team in 2009.
Erik Hansen – 6’ 7” Middle
Hansen will be rejoining the Rebels after taking a year off from competition. He was a member of the team from 2008-2011, contributing in 3 undefeated seasons and capturing 3 consecutive MCAC Championships. During this time Hansen was also twice named to the MCAC All-Conference team.
Mitchell Hendry – 5’ 10” Outside Hitter/Libero
Hendry is coming off a very successful 2012 18U club season with the 204 Volleyball Club, where he was coached by Dan Gilbert — also head coach of the Rebels men's team. He was a gold medalist at the Provincial Championships and a silver medalist at the National Championships. Hendry is a graduate of MBCI, where he helped his team to a AAAA Provincial Final Four appearance.
Kyle Kasdorf – 6’ 5” Middle
Kasdorf was a teammate of Hendry with the 204 Volleyball Club, where he was a gold medalist at the 18U Provincial Championships and a silver medalist at the 18U National Championships. In addition to being named a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star, Kasdorf also received the Stefan Savoie Memorial Scholarship.
"I'm very excited with our new recruits for the 2012-13 volleyball season," says Gilbert, noting the team is on the verge of adding two talented and experienced former university players to its roster.
"We will also be using the summer to evaluate a large number of prospective athletes who have expressed an interest in joining our team. I believe all this new talent, combined with our returning veterans, will result in the strongest team in my five seasons coaching with the RRC program."
Gilbert and members of the men's volleyball team will hit the court in late August to host skills camps for youth in grade 6-12. Cost of the week-long camps is $120 and registration closes on August 13.
Red River College's Rebels Athletics program will once again help young athletes develop their skills this season, through a series of Summer Sports Camps aimed at youth of all ages.
The camps will run from late July to August, and will be led by experienced RRC coaches and athletes.
Read More →
Rebels guard Abby Silva accepts her MVP award from RRC Athletics Director Ryan Ratushniak on Friday.
It was an uphill battle until the very end, but both the men's and women's Rebels basketball teams emerged victorious over the weekend, clinching their respective top spots at the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) Final Four Championships.
The Rebels men's team entered the tournament — held Friday and Saturday at Red River College — as the #3 seed, while the women's team was ranked #2 going in.
For the Rebels men, the win represents their fourth straight MCAC basketball title. This might have been their toughest test, though, as they upset the #1-seeded (and winner of 12 straight games), Canadian Mennonite University Blazers.
The Rebels women, meanwhile, employed full-court defense and a quick offense to defeat the #4-seed Providence University College, who had knocked off the juggernaut #1 College Wesmen on Friday. Read More →
Red River College's Rebels Athletics program got a bit of a facelift this year — in the form of renovations to the North Gym that will allow fans to get even closer to the action.
In the past, the gym's bleachers were located in the upper-level exercise loft, which — in addition to wreaking havoc with the loft's schedule for users — also created a serious disconnect between Rebels' fans and the athletes they were cheering on.
No longer! As of last February, the North Gym's bleachers have been located courtside, where they belong. In addition, the gymnasium's floors were repainted and re-finished (complete with a full-scale Rebels logo at centre court), and all the walls were treated to a new coat of paint. Read More →
Red River College's Rebels athletes played mentor to junior high school students from across the province over the weekend, at a volleyball tournament and skills camp aimed at further strengthening our teams' ties to the community.
At the second annual Rebels Boys Classic, held Nov. 5th and 6th at the College's Notre Dame Campus, teams from 11 junior high schools throughout Manitoba took part in a combined tourney and skills clinic led by athletes on RRC's Rebels Men's Volleyball team.
A similar event — the Rebels Girls Classic — was held two weekends prior, drawing players from 14 junior high girls teams throughout the province.
Read More →
MCAC President Larry Shannon (left) with RRC goalie James Rosney, the Rebels' player of the game in Sunday's match against U of W.
The Red River College Rebels Soccer teams ended their first Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) season on a high note this past weekend. The College played host to the MCAC Soccer Championships, and both our women's and men's teams played their best soccer of the season.
The women's team lost a semi-final match on Saturday to the University of Winnipeg, which put them in the bronze medal game on Sunday against Canadian Mennonite University. The women's team was well-prepared for the game and played solidly throughout, taking the game by a score of 3-1 for the bronze medal win!
The men's team entered the championships as the #3 seed, and upset #2-seeded Providence University College in the semi-final on Saturday by a score of 2-0. The win put the men in Sunday's final against the #1-ranked U of W, whose squad features players from the Canadian National Team program and pro ranks. Playing inspired ball, the Rebels took the game into injury time tied at 1-1, before the Wesmen finally scored two more goals to make the score 3-1.
It was an excellent showing for the new RRC soccer program, which earned bronze and silver medals the very first year. For more information, or to see pictures and video of the MCAC Soccer Championships, visit the MCAC website at www.mcacathletics.ca.
After a perfect 2010/11 season that saw them go 14-0, with just four set losses, the Red River College Rebels men’s volleyball team did one better this weekend, dismantling a talented squad from Alberta in the CMU Challenge Cup final.
The CMU Challenge Cup, a non-MCAC tournament which took place on campus at Winnipeg’s Canadian Mennonite University, featured two men’s teams who will take the court in MCAC action this year: the Red River College Rebels and the CMU Blazers.
It also saw talented teams in the eventual-finalist Lakeland Rustlers from the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and the Lakehead Thunderwolves, a club team from the Thunder Bay school.
Red River College defeated Lakeland in straight sets in both the final and the round robin match between the two. Lakeland has nine Manitobans on their roster.
“Defeating Lakeland was great for our program and the conference,” said Dan Gilbert, head coach of the Red River men’s volleyball team. “With dozens of Manitobans currently playing college volleyball elsewhere, this shows that many players are still looking abroad for something that may be available in their own back yard.” Read More →