Courtland teen carries games torch
Aalanna Rusnak helped carry the torch for 2019 Canada Winter Games that’s going coast to coast
Sporting a white Canada Winter Games jacket, with a red tuque and matching mittens, Courtland’s Aalanna Ramona Rusnak took part in the biggest relay of her life last month.
An accomplished cross-country runner, Rusnak carried the torch on the final leg of the Canada Winter Games Niagara relay Oct. 20 in St. Catharines.
“I was thrilled, it was just super exciting. It was awesome to be part of that,” Rusnak said.
Her mother Jessica nominated her before the June 30 deadline. More than 900 nominations were received.
The Canada Games Torch Relay “is an exciting opportunity to bring communities across the country together to celebrate the spirit of the Canada Games movement and recognize the accomplishments of these deserving individuals,” board chair Lyn Radford said in a release.
“The quality and number of nominations was truly impressive.”
Rusnak, 13, might be the youngest runner in the relay that for the first time in the history of the games is travelling coast to coast. “So that’s pretty exciting,” she said.
On her Canada Games bio, Rusnak is described as a straight A student who volunteers at the Tillsonburg Skating Club and excels in different sports.
The torch relay began Oct. 4 in Ottawa and wraps up Feb. 15, 2019, visiting 48 communities. Rusnak’s big day was Oct. 20 in St. Catharines at the Niagara Region torch relay.
“I just had to run 550 metres, so it was like a nice enjoyable run,” she said. “Then I had the five pound torch — I got it at its lightest point because it had burned — it was still pretty heavy. I ran with my cousin (Lilyana Petrella) and older brother (Ryan Rusnak), so that was nice to have the company.
“It was really exciting being the last leg of the race because we ran into the celebration site, which was Brock University, and there were tons of people lined up on the street. They were cheering for the torch — and me — coming in.” Rusnak lit the torch, again, at the cauldron.
“That was really exciting. And I got interviewed there, so that was exciting too.”
The 2019 Canada Winter Games will held Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer and central Alberta.
Aalanna Ramona Rusnak, 13, a Grade 8 student at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, was a Canada Winter Games torchbearer in St. Catharines on Oct. 20. Rusnak, a five-time regional cross-country champion, ran the final 550-metre leg of the Niagara Region relay bringing the torch into the celebration area at Brock University.