Pearce, Converse make for nice fit

By Allen LaMountain

   If you are a runner, distance or otherwise, what better school to sign a letter of intent to attend than Converse College?
   On Friday afternoon at Elizabethton High School, Cyclone cross country and track star Megan Pearce did just that, and will run cross country for coach Niles Yantchook at the Spartanburg, S.C. University.
   "Megan, athletically and academically, is one of five or six recruits coming in that we hope can help us build a nationally-ranked team with," said Yantchook. "The thing I look for in an athlete is balance. To be able to succeed in life, both in school and later in life, you have to have a balance of athletics, academics and spirituality."
   One quality of Pearce's that drew the interest of Yantchook was Megan's determination.
   "We have some good recruits coming in, and the hope is that they will push each other, and in turn make us better for it."
   Pearce, who will be working on a double major of English and Psychology, is excited about the prospect of running distance.
   "The toughest aspect of distance running is the mental aspect," she said. "You have to try not to psyche yourself out. Keeping a steady pace is important."
   Pearce, who also runs track, competing in the 1600-meter run and has also run the 3200-meter event, said of the difference in the sports: "Track is more quality, cross country more quantity, but one aspect of track that will help in the transition is that track helps you with getting that kick at the end (of a race)."
   EHS cross country coach Lisa Watson is understandably proud of Pearce.
   "Megan has been our program," she said. "She is tough both mentally and physically. She is a quality person and she gives the same effort in the classroom that she gives to athletics. I wish her all the best."
   Pearce, who has been trained and coached by Ian Bradley, said of her mentor, "Most of all I want to thank Ian for the countless hours of time and energy he has invested in my running career. Most coaches invite workouts, clock speed work and track the progress of their runners.
   "Mr. Bradley literally went the extra mile. In addition to all of the above, he ran beside us every day at practice."