Recruiters hit runners at finish line

Ryan Boulton
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P.A. cross-country standout Surkan flattered by offer but declines for now

Barely across the finish line and out of the check-in area, Megan Surkan was cornered and hit with an offer.

Still gasping for air, the Grade 12 Rivier Academy student could only accept congratulations from a pair of recruiters with a nod, though the look on her face showed she was more taken than anything.

Recruiters hit runners at finish line

Barely across the finish line and out of the check-in area, Megan Surkan was cornered and hit with an offer.

Still gasping for air, the Grade 12 Rivier Academy student could only accept congratulations from a pair of recruiters with a nod, though the look on her face showed she was more taken than anything.

Surkan was fifth to cross the finish line in the senior girls' division at the provincial high school cross country championships Saturday at Little Red River Park.

While she might not have the University of Regina high in her sights, she said being met by university scouts was a pretty intriguing experience.

"That was pretty flattering for sure," Surkan said after her impromptu meeting. "I really don't know what I am going to do, but it was pretty nice."

The North Central District champion, Surkan and fellow Rivier runner Breanna Jansen were among the race favourites. And while Surkan's time of 17 minutes 20 seconds was nearly three minutes off the lightning pace set by winner Kendra Schiff of Lumsden, it was a huge personal victory nonetheless.

Surkan managed a 21st-place finish at last year's provincials, so her performance Saturday showed she is on the right track.

However, with the slick conditions from the constant showers around the city Saturday, Surkan said it wasn't the easiest race she's had, which made her top-five result even sweeter.

"It's a lot more challenging when it's cold and wet like this, but I don't like the cold," said Surkan, admitting the bulk of her training is done on a treadmill. "I don't think I have run in anything like this before. I was just making sure I didn't slip on the hills.

"Basically, I was saying to myself, 'Don't fall down and you'll be good.'"

Her thinking paid off and so did her tactics as Surkan moved from a trailing pack into the top five in the final two-kilometre stretch.

Familiar with the course, Surkan said she knew she would be around at the end if she stayed within herself.

"I know I am not the fastest person, but I have a long endurance," said Surkan. "I got out there today and battled it out, but I know I have enough to be around later in the race and it was my tactics, and it worked out well."

Teammate Jansen didn't make it through the tough conditions as easily and was settled for 12th spot, but she was more than happy.

If not for an early fall, Jansen might have made it a three-pronged North Central top-10 finish, as St. Mary standout Danny Stone placed seventh.

"It was really muddy and that kind of shot some of the race for me, because the girls were already gone when I got up," said Jansen. "I didn't think the conditions were that bad, because it's cross-country and it's supposed to be a bit more difficult, but when you fall it's hard.

"For my first year as a senior I am pretty happy."

Working with both girls as part of the district side for the provincials, coach Kelly Prins of St. Mary said both the Rivier competitors are perfectly moulded for the sport and the weekend's performances were no surprise.

"They are both very dedicated and have a lot of heart," said Prins. "They are hard workers and that is a huge strength, because this such an individual sport."

rboulton@pahrald.sk.ca

Organizations: Rivier Academy, University of Regina

Geographic location: Little Red River Park, North Central

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