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Rising Canmore rugby star recognized in national talent search

Canmore's Krissy Scurfield is one of 30 Canadian athletes selected for Future Olympian funding through the RBC Training Ground.

CANMORE – If leaving opponents in the dust was a job then Krissy Scurfield would own the business.

Scurfield, a red hot rugby prospect from Canmore, was one of 30 Canadian athletes selected for Future Olympian funding through the RBC Training Ground, a nationwide talent search for athletes aged 14 to 24.

Playing at wing with a rocket-like sprinting ability, the 18-year-old has all the potential to be the future wheels of Canadian rugby sevens at the Summer Olympic Games.

"I can't really say anything for sure, but I hope so. I hope that the funding definitely helps for getting me where I want to be too," she said.

"A lot of it was for funding for Rugby Canada so that we can have more opportunities with like nutrition and equipment and gym equipment on-field like balls and pads and stuff, so it's just really crucial for our training."

Last year became a major step forward in Scurfield’s budding rugby career.

First, the former Banff Community High School Bears standout was selected to the 2021-22 Maple Leaf Academy (MLA), Rugby Canada's NextGen program for exceptional upcoming female players aspiring to compete for Canada's women's sevens team and the Olympic Games.

In the fall, she started attending the University of Victoria, playing rugby with the Vikes, one of the nation's top rugby universities.

Then a "surreal moment" happened for the rising star after being selected to Canada's first travel roster for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, an annual series of an elite-level of international rugby play, which opened its season with consecutive weekend tournaments in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

She scored her first international try during the second weekend of action, turning on the nitro against Brazil.

Rugby sevens is featured at the Summer Olympics, which is a faster, shorter, and more intense version of the game with seven athletes per team playing in seven-minute halves.

While in Dubai, Scurfield missed the in-person RBC Training Ground sessions in Calgary, so she submitted an online version of her training, recording herself doing fitness tests such as the beep test, modified push-up test, and long jump and sent to Olympic scouts for viewing.

The finalists of the RBC Training Ground were announced last Friday (Jan. 7) during a special programme on TSN. The programme featured several athletes' profiles from across the province. Scurfield was approached about being one of the athletes featured, but had commitments with the women's sevens team overseas.

The former AAA hockey bruiser was one of several MLA athletes selected in the top 30.

"I was just really happy because I was with my friends who found out they all won at the same time," said Scurfield. "It was a good feeling because we were all together."

MLA head coach Kelly Russell said Rugby Canada has kept a close watch on Scurfield since 2020, adding the Canmore firebolt could be a "difference maker" on the world stage.

“Krissy is a natural speedster,” said Russell in a press release. “Her performances in the speed and sprint tests specifically really make us believe she could be a difference maker at the very top level. After we saw her at RBC Training Ground in Calgary back in 2020, she’s been selected to the Dubai HSBC World Series Canada Team in Nov. 2021 and is targeted for Paris 2024. A young athlete with much potential for future selections and success.”

With fast feet and a natural spark for the game, Scurfield began rugby in Grade 9 for the Banff Bears. She quickly rose to prominence at Team Alberta and U18 Canada camps. While in high school, she was also eligible to play for the Calgary Mavericks rugby team, which was her first taste of rugby sevens.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she excelled in her training where some athletes had harder times staying focused.

"I was just able to dial in and do a lot of training at home and kind of get ahead of the game while everyone else was just staying the same," she said. "I think that was a huge head start for me."

Scurfield hopes she's able to play more rugby sevens when the series resumes tournament action over the next five months.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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