Blue Devils get a fresh start; RCC women’s basketball team returns after one year off

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

After a one-year hiatus, the Riverland Community College women’s basketball program is back.

The Blue Devils will look to Douglas Waldner of Hayfield to lead them as the team’s new head coach. Waldner was an assistant coach for the RCTC women’s basketball team over the past couple of seasons, he was the founder and coach of an AAU team called the Southern Minnesota Wave and he coached elementary and junior high basketball in Hayfield.

“I’m very fortunate to be here,” Waldner said of taking the RCC head coaching position. “The local area kids know how to work hard and we have good coaches in the area. We’ll definitely look in the area [for players].”

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The Blue Devils are hoping to make a rebound after the 2015-2016 season was suspended as the school searched for a new coach. RCC has a lot of new players still adjusting to each other on the court, but Grand Meadow grad Rylee Stickrod and LeRoy-Ostrander grad Sam Siskow have played against each other plenty of times at the high school level.

“We’re creating something instead of going with what it used to be,” Stickrod said of being part of the new program. “It’s kind of hard because none of us have really grown up playing with each other. It’s different.”

Siskow, who also played for the RCC volleyball team this past fall, is excited to compete in basketball at the NJCAA level. She said the team can make some strides with the right work ethic.

“It’s definitely going to take a lot of hard work to get everybody situated,” Siskow said. “If everyone’s willing to put in the hard work then I think we’ll have a decently successful season. It’s nice to be part of a turning point for the college.”

Waldner said the Blue Devils will have to build leadership throughout the season as the team will have to adjust to playing at the college level and with each other.

“We don’t have that leadership with sophomores but we’ve got kids that are working hard,” he said. “Hopefully next year we’ll have a core group coming back and hopefully we’ll have a good team. This year is going to be a rebuilding year.”

Despite starting from scratch, the Blue Devils are hoping to put their all into this season.

“We’re positive and upbeat,” Waldner said. “We understand we’re going to have some tough games ahead of us. We’ve just go to keep a smile on our faces and keep driving forward.”

RCC will open its regular season vs. Dordt College in Worthington 2 p.m. Saturday. The Blue Devils will host NIACC in their home opener 5:45 p.m. Nov. 22.