Mac’s Pearo ready to take on the world

McMaster University cross-country star Jessica Pearo will be treading on familiar ground when she represents Canada at the 17th World University Championships in Kingston on April 11.

The event brings more than 150 competitors from 25 countries to Queen’s University, which will serve as the host institution.

A third-year Kinesiology student from Richmond Hill, Pearo qualified for the Canadian team by virtue of her fifth-place finish in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s championships held at Queen’s last November. That result also saw her named a CIS First-Team All-Canadian.

The women’s 5-kilometre race will be run on the historical course at Old Fort Henry, where the CIS championships were held, providing some home-course advantage for Pearo and her Canadian teammates.

The Canadian women’s team will be striving to improve on its ninth-place finish at the 2008 World University Cross-Country Championship held in Mauquenchy, France.

In addition to being a CIS All-Canadian, Pearo was awarded the Ontario University Athletics’ Cross-Country student-athlete community service award. The award recognized her for various volunteer efforts that included working on the McMaster Terry Fox Run, helping with the Salvation Army “Kettles” Christmas campaign, and travelling to Panama to assist in the construction of a home for a disadvantaged family.