October’s athletes of the month glad to end high school soccer careers on a high note

Even though Grade 12 students Tressa McDonald and Kyle Tomchuk are done playing R.D. Parker Collegiate Trojans soccer, the pair told the Thompson Citizen Oct. 26 that this final season has provided them with a lot of good memories.

Back in late September, McDonald singlehandedly propelled the girls’ team to victory at the Zone 11 championships by burying a free kick from midfield, which led to her team’s 1−0 victory in the finals. 

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Meanwhile, Tomchuk was instrumental in helping the boys’ team win their first zones championship in eight years by scoring six goals throughout the entire tournament, including one during the final game against the Oscar Lathlin Wolverines.

According to Tomchuk, this victory at zones is especially impressive since he and other senior players were tasked with rebuilding the team from scratch after they lost eight Grade 12 players from last year.

“There wasn’t enough guys to come out, so eventually we had to get [coach] Gallo and me and a whole bunch of other players to get out there and [recruit] guys,” he said. “They didn’t even know how to play soccer when we first got them, so it was a quick two weeks turnaround and we were off.” 

Even though the boys’ team didn’t rack up any victories at the rural soccer provincials in mid-October, Tomchuk said simply competing in this tournament was a good learning experience for their rookies and bodes well for the future of this team.

The girls’ team fared a little bit better at provincials by winning the consolation finals, making them the fifth-best team in Manitoba.

“It was a great way to end my final year,” said McDonald. “I also got game star, which I was really happy about in one of the games and then I scored in our last game to win the consolation finals.”

Coach Jeff Paradis said McDonald has been an asset to the girls’ RDPC soccer program for the last four years, which is why he selected her to be October’s athlete of the month. 

“Although soft-spoken at times, she played nearly every minute of all our games, letting her solid defensive play do the talking for her,” he wrote in an email to the Thompson Citizen. “She has an instinct of where to be on the pitch, when to step up and challenge the ball, and an incredible shot.”

While coach Eric Gallo-Paskey said Tomchuk’s raw athletic talent on the boys’ team was also beyond question, his quality as a leader also made him great athlete of the month material.

“I could depend on him for things off the field that I really didn’t have control of,” said Gallo-Paskey. “Texting the other guys, letting them know what’s going on. He’d even arrange things on the weekend when we didn’t have practices.”

Even though the soccer season is wrapped up, McDonald and Tomchuk aren’t done with RDPC athletics just yet, since they both plan on competing in Trojans basketball starting in December.

Otherwise, the pair seem completely content with everything they’ve accomplished playing sports in the last four years, and encourage anybody to follow in their footsteps if they want to make the most of their time in high school.

“I recommend it to anyone coming into Grade 9,” said Tomchuk. “Get involved in as many [sports] as you can. It’s probably some of the best memories I’ve made in my life.”

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