Sports

Semiahmoo Totems’ hurdler joins Vandals

Semiahmoo Secondary hurdler Meghan Palesch has committed to attend the University of Idaho in the fall on a track scholarship. - File photo
Semiahmoo Secondary hurdler Meghan Palesch has committed to attend the University of Idaho in the fall on a track scholarship.
— image credit: File photo

After juggling her post-secondary options like a hot potato, Meghan Palesch has picked a school in a state known for them.

On Feb. 6, Palesch, a Grade 12 hurdler at Semiahmoo Secondary, committed to the University of Idaho. She’ll be joined on the Idaho track team by another Surrey high school star – Kwantlen Park’s Tim Delcourt, a provincial champion cross-country and middle-distance runner, also signed a full-ride scholarship the same day.

As happy as she is with her decision, Palesch admitted to feeling a sense of relief to have the whole recruitment process over with.

“It was a really long process – it took two months,” she said last week, a day before leaving on a family vacation to Mexico.

Palesch had a number of scholarship options south of the border, and made two official school visits in the fall – first to the University of Idaho’s campus in Moscow, Idaho, and then to the University of Utah.

After that, she cut the process short and made her choice.

“I just knew that Idaho was the place I wanted to be. The people there are awesome and were so welcoming, and the coach is amazing,” Palesch said.

“It’s just nice to have it done now, so I can just focus on my times and getting better. Knowing that I’m going somewhere amazing next year has really taken the pressure off.”

Palesch brings an impressive resumé to the Idaho track team. She is a Canadian junior national champion, and at the 2010 Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships she set a national youth record in the 200-m hurdles.

She won triple gold at the 2012 B.C. Championships, and also won the 60-m hurdles at the 2013 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Indoor Games this month, clocking a time of 8.87 seconds, which is the second-fastest time in Canada this season.

At B.C. high school championships last June, Palesch won three medals – two gold, one silver – and helped Semiahmoo’s girls team place in the top 10 overall.

“I just always want to be the best I can be, and I’m really thankful to everyone who has helped me get to this point,” she said.

Palesch said she leaned on her family and coaches for guidance when deciding between schools. By and large, they all gave her the same advice.

“Everyone said to just go where I felt most comfortable,” she explained. “They said not to worry about if it’s a big school, or a small school, or whatever – just find the place where I was comfortable, because it’s a place you’re going to have to be for the next four years.

“They told me to follow my heart.”

With her university decision made, Palesch is now focused on leading Semiahmoo to a top finish at high school provincials this season.

“We’ve always had strong teams and I think we will again,” she said.

As for personal goals, she admits to one – getting her name etched in the high school record books.

“I’m going to go for a record in one of the hurdle (events). I think to have my name in there before I go, that would be pretty special.”

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