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Dana Cranston representing Canada at 27th Summer Universiade in Russia

Fort St. John's Dana Cranston is off to Russia later today as she and her teammates prepare to represent the country at the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan. The games will be Cranston's first time competing in a major tournament at the international level.

The games are an elite level competition of university sports.

Cranston and her team open the games on Monday as they square off against Norway. She says the opportunity to play for Canada is one she’s wanted for a long time.

“It’s kind of surreal a little bit. I feel like this is something I’ve dreamed about since I was really little,” she explains. “It’s a super cool chance to get to represent a country that means so much to me and play on a world stage and see the high level of this game.”

Training leading up to the tournament has gone well, and Cranston is optimistic about the team’s prospects heading into the games.

“We’re doing really well, we mesh really well together. There’s a lot of experience, even though we’re young,” she says. “It’s looking really good for our team. I think we’re all really excited for this tournament and the potential we have to do really well. I think everybody’s not just going there to compete; we’re going to try and do well and take a medal.”

As for Cranston herself, she’ll find herself in an unfamiliar role. Normally a started on whatever team she plays for, she’ll now be used in a backup position, but that hasn’t diminished her enthusiasm.

“I’m going to be playing a little bit more of a supporting role. That’s a change from school, [as] it is for a lot of the girls here. Pretty much everyone starts on their school team, then comes here and it’s the cream of the crop,” she goes on to say. “I’m really excited to play the role I need to play, and whatever that ends up being at the tournament, I’m just excited to go out there and play for God, and represent this country the best I can.”

Cranston and her Canadian counterparts will play in three games in pool play.  After Monday’s game against Norway, the team will then square off against Algeria on Tuesday, and Brazil on Wednesday.