Tracking her progress
The valley’s valuable track and field resources are being pumped north through a pipeline that’s becoming fully operational from the island to Alaska.
Haleigh Lloyd of Ladysmith previously made the trek and became an instant success in the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field program. Now, Frances Kelsey student Mary-Kate Cross and her friend Lexie Scott of Victoria are heading that way after they graduate.
“My coach John (May) is so close with the Alaska coach up there,’’ explained Cross. “I think they keep an eye on a lot of John’s kids. I think they really like Vancouver Island.
“My coach has so many athletes up there. So far, there’s four of us going up there next year.’’
That’s especially good news for track and field stars in the region who will follow and may have that same option.
May has always shown a great confidence in Cross and that made the scholarship possible.
Cross also considered two Canadian schools, Trinity Western and the University of Alberta, before deciding Alaska Anchorage was right for her.
“I went on a recruiting session in the beginning of February,’’ said Cross.
Due to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, it was a whirlwind trip made with her family to tour the university and campus and meet with the head coaches and athletic director.
“You’re only allowed to be up there 48 hours,’’ said Cross.
She was impressed with the massive indoor track and fitness centre at the university.
Athletes are expected to maintain a 3.2 Grade Point Average. That’s right up Cross’s alley, as she embarks on a four-year Bachelor of Science Physical Education program.
The scholarship will provide plenty of perks for Cross to accomplish her athletic and academic goals.
“Right now, it’s tuition and fees and all track things like spikes and our trips are paid for,’’ she said.
It could also provide for accommodation depending on performance after the first year.
“At first, I was pretty stressed out,'' said Cross. "I felt really young when I was making the decision. Now, it’s exciting.’’