(HALIFAX, NS) Steven Randall, of the UNB Reds men’s volleyball team, was named top performer in the Atlantic region finals of the 2018 RBC Training Ground competition.
Randall beat 99 other regional qualifiers.
“I feel I performed well, however it definitely was not my best performance,” said Randall. “I was in the top seven for five of the six events, the sprint being the only event I wasn’t on the leader board (top 8) for.”
“That being said, I gave it my all and am extremely happy with the overall result.”
The RBC Training Ground is a talent identification and athlete funding program designed to uncover athletes with Olympic potential, and provide them with the high-performance sport resources they need to achieve their podium dreams.
Randall was selected as the top performer at the regional final, in Halifax, by a committee of coaches, talent identification representatives and Training Ground team members. Each athlete was scored in six events covering four testing areas – speed, strength, power and endurance.
Randall, about to begin his third year with the Reds men’s volleyball team, was shocked to learn he’d earned top spot.
“I listened as all the medals for the individual events were handed out. I knew I didn’t win any of the individual events, and because of that I really didn’t think I had a chance at the overall award,” said Randall. “As I listened to my name get called I just sat there for a second in shock. It wasn’t until I was in the car, on the way home with my Dad, talking about the day, that it really started to kick in what had happened.”
While the result surprised Randall, news of the accomplishment hardly surprised Dan McMorran, long-time head coach of the Reds men’s volleyball team.
“I’m not surprised at all with his result,” said McMorran. “Steve is an impressive all-round athlete who I feel has always had the potential to excel in a variety of sports. We have a team filled with outstanding athletes, and this has contributed to the success our program over the past several seasons.”
Asked what happens next, Randall says he’s awaiting word from Training Ground organizers.
“I’ve been told that I’ll be receiving a number of e-mails in the next few days which hopefully will enlighten me on what is to come,” said Randall. “I believe that more sport specific testing is to take place and, hopefully, some funding for my athletic endeavors will be coming in too.”
According to the RBC Training Ground web site, selected athletes from the regional finals will be further identified for additional testing with various national sport organizations. Once the next level of analysis is complete, as many as 30 athletes from across the country will receive assistance that will be used for travel, nutrition and coaching. Those funds are administered by the Canadian Olympic Foundation and the select national sport organization.
“It’s fantastic to see one of our players get an opportunity of this magnitude,” said McMorran.
As for his Olympic dream, Randall is cautious.
“Everyone dreams of representing their country on the biggest stage in sport, but it was something that I never thought was realistic.”
The results of the past weekend might indicate otherwise.
In the meantime, Randall and his Reds teammates are focused on their upcoming season.
UNB hosts the Winnipeg Wesmen on October 10th and 11th in a pair of exhibition matches.
Game time both nights is 7:00pm.