After securing her future Emma Balazs took up the Prince George Iceman challenge for the second time Sunday as a soloist.
The 17-year-old committed to attend the University of Idaho on an athletic scholarship where the track athlete will spend four years competing for the NCAA Division 1 Vandals starting in September. Balazs said her other school option was Hawaii.
It was pretty much weather versus everything else - I went with everything else, said Balazs. I can go somewhere hot later on.
The Prince George Track and Field Club (PGTF) member won the 2012 Canadian youth national title in the 2000m steeplechase (6:57.65) and won the bronze medal in the 1500m (4:43.68) race at the sam event. In 2012 Balazs also received the Prince George hall of fame youth sports excellence award.
Balazs said once she stopped dreaming of the beaches of Hawaii she knew becoming a Vandal would be the right decision.
They gave me a full ride and I liked the coach and they have some pretty fast people there, said Balazs. I know that people that have gone there have done well.
A few alumni of the Vandals include former PGTF club members, Bevin Kennelly, Josh Guggenheimer, Mandy McAlister and Joel Alberts. The Vandals coach is Wayne Phipps, another former PGTF club athlete.
Phipps said the Vandals are happy to get an athlete with Balazs pedigree.
Knowing her hometown, I know the difficulties that they have training through the winter and in adverse conditions more often than not, so Im really impressed by her performances, said Phipps. With her background in cross country and her experience in the multiple distance events we expect her to be able to come right in and be a contributor in her freshman season.
The Kelly Road secondary student wont be the only freshman from British Columbia competing with the Vandals in the Western Athletic Conference as 2012 boys cross-country champion Tim Dalcourt and hurdler Meghan Palesch also signed with Idaho. Both Dalcourt, a student at Kwantlen Park secondary and Palesch, the Canadian junior national champion in the 100m hurdles (14.22), are from Surrey.
Balazs celebrated her commitment to the Vandals with a little cross-training Sunday, finishing third in the womens open division (fourth woman overall) in the 26th annual Iceman, knocking about five minutes off her 2012 soloist time.