Surrey athletes are preparing for the leap from high school to university-level athletics. Among them are Bailey Bjornson and Nola Mountain, both of whom have been recruited to NCAA schools.
Mountain, who will graduate from Fraser Heights Secondary next spring, is headed for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on a softball scholarship.
For teams in both Canada and the U.S., the middle infielder is known for competitiveness, a get-it-done attitude, speed and smarts. She’s also excelled on the track and in cross-country running.
“It’s not very common for a small, speedy Canadian middle infielder to get a Division 1 softball scholarship,” noted Mountain’s mother, Nat.
Mountain, 16, has been looking to play for an American college since age 13, when she was an under-ager on the Canada Futures college exposure team.
“The program takes a select group of Canadian softball players to (the States) to play versus U.S. college teams in order to get a college student athlete experience,” Mountain says. “I fell in love with the campuses, the teams and the USA style of softball. I started playing on a U.S. travel softball team at the same time and have played hundreds of games in the USA since then.”
Mountain’s profile is posted to the Next College Student Athlete website (ncsasports.org), along with a five-minute video of her in action.
Meantime, Pacific Academy student Bailey Bjornson will be playing golf with the Simon Fraser University team next year, as the first signing on the men’s side for the 2021 recruiting class. His home course is Northview Golf & Country Club, located not far from his Cloverdale-area home.
Bjornson posted 11 victories and 11 runner-up finishes on the Maple Leaf Junior tour (MJT). He also has one victory on the Vancouver Golf Tour, and captained Pacific Academy to the 2019 BC AA provincial golf championship.
News of Bjornson’s signing is posted to athletics.sfu.ca.
SFU golf head coach Matt Steinbach called Bjornson “a strong competitor who knows how to close out tournaments and win. He has an excellent training foundation and is a very coachable athlete. We expect him to compete for a spot in our top five as a freshman.”
Bjornson intends to study marketing at SFU, where the men’s golf team set program records for lowest scores over 18 holes, 36 holes, and 54 holes, earned two tournament wins and finished top four in five out of six events last year. They ended the COVID-19-shortened season as the top-ranked team in the west region and ranked 18th in NCAA Division 2.