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UVic Vikes star Krissy Scurfield leads Canada into L.A. Sevens

Canadian women fresh off bronze medal at Vancouver Sevens
Team Canada’s Krissy Scurfield grabs a hold of Australia’s Isabella Nasser during the bronze-medal game at the Vancouver Sevens at B.C. Place on Sunday. ETHAN CAIRNS, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Krissy Scurfield will be in Southern California from Friday to Sunday for the Los Angeles Sevens. But the University of Victoria Vikes star may have already run all the way to France. ­Metaphorically, of course.

The five-foot-six dynamo likely sealed her place on the Canadian roster for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by being named to the Vancouver Sevens tournament Dream Team as Langford-based Canada captured bronze at its home event last weekend at B.C. Place.

Canada qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics by winning the North American and ­Caribbean qualifying tournament last August at Starlight Stadium in Langford. Canadian head coach Jack Hanratty is closely monitoring performances in World Series tournaments this year as he decides on finalizing his Olympic roster.

Scurfield gave him plenty to think about in scoring tries in both games Sunday as Canada was beaten 15-7 in the semifinals by 2020 Tokyo Olympics-champion New Zealand before rebounding to defeat 2016 Rio Olympics-champion Australia 19-14 in the bronze-medal final. Canada is playing with the big girls again.

“The atmosphere [at B.C. Place] compares to no other tournament,” Scurfield said in a statement.

“Our fans are so loyal. You can hear them cheering us on. It just gives us the energy to push through those hard moments.”

Now it’s on to Los Angeles, and probably, Paris. Locks for the Canadian Olympic team at this juncture appear to be ­Scurfield, Sophie De Goede of Victoria, captain Olivia Apps, veterans Breanne Nicholas and Chloe Daniels and Charity ­Williams, the last connection to the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze-medallist team. Leading ­players vying for the last six positions for Paris include Caroline Crossley of Victoria, Shalaya ­Valenzuela of Abbotsford, UVic Vikes star Carissa Norsten, Fancy Bermudez of Westshore RFC, Alysha Corrigan, Maddy Grant, Asia Hogan-Rochester and ­Florence Symonds.

“Every single player in our program, regardless of if they are named to a roster or not, has been putting in the work to help the team perform and build towards the Olympics,” said Hanratty.

Meanwhile, the Canadian men’s team says it heads into the Los Angeles Sevens this weekend having learned lessons from its 11th place finish in the ­Vancouver Sevens.

“We’re creating opportunities. We’re just not capitalizing at the moment. But the opportunities are there. Between now and L.A., we’ll look to correct those,” Canadian head coach Sean White of Victoria said in a statement.

“There are little things that we can work on that are in our control and ultimately hopefully we can go into L.A. and make those corrections.”

A key in Los Angeles will be Jack Carson of Victoria, among the top Canadians at B.C. Place. The Canadians will be without fellow-Victoria standout Lachlan Kratz, injured in the Perth ­Sevens last month in Australia.

The Canadian men placed second to the U.S. in the North American and Caribbean Olympic qualifying tournament last summer at Starlight Stadium and are preparing for the world at-large last-chance Olympic qualifier for Paris 2024, which will take place June 21-23 in Monaco.