If your dream is to earn a sports scholarship, attending a small, Christian high school might not seem like a wise choice. But two of this year’s Rosthern Junior College grads would prove you wrong. Jade Peters will be going to the University of Guelph on a track and field scholarship for high jump and triple jump, and Carter Dahl was recruited to play football with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
“I had watched quite a few huskies games growing up,” says Dahl. “I didn’t really think of myself playing there.” But then the joint RJC and Rosthern High School team finished their season undefeated, taking home provincial gold. Dahl then received a text from Huskies recruiter Brian Guebert, they talked and now Dahl will join next year’s team as a receiver.
That wasn’t the first time Guebert had noticed Dahl. The Huskies coach and recruiter has been commissioner for Saskatoon Minor Football for the last 14 years, and so had seen Dahl play. But Dahl started to draw more attention when he played for the under 16 team that won the Red River Cup. “Carter’s athleticism really stood out to us,” says Guebert. The fact that Dahl also played on the provincial baseball team impressed Guebert. “When you have an athlete that can make two different provincial teams in two different sports that really just speaks to his dedication and commitment to excellence,” he says.
For Guebert, a graduate of Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute, the fact that RJC is a smaller school wasn’t an issue in recruiting Dahl. “I came from almost the exact same situation as Carter—went to the small private school in Saskatchewan, played six-man football, and I had the opportunity to go all the way to the CFL,” says Guebert. “I believe the cream rises to the top regardless of what size of school or community. If somebody puts forth the work to be great at what they do, then they have a great opportunity to go and do pretty remarkable things in that sport.”
He says that being on a smaller team can actually improve a player’s skills. “It’s all the same fundamental skills that we look for in athletes, and frankly they have to be even better at some of them because if you make a mistake in six-man football it will end up costing you a touch down,” he says.
Studying at RJC also means students get a well rounded experience, participating in musicals, choir or student council alongside athletics. Before attending RJC, Dahl had never sung in choir or been in a musical, but at RJC he was encouraged to try both. He fit the new extra curricular activities in between football, basketball, volleyball, badminton and track and field. “It was different coming here and everyone just encouraging you to go into the musical, sing in the choir. It’s pretty fun though,” he says. Dahl also enjoyed the Alternative Learning and Service Opportunities (ALSO) trips he took to Alabama and Guatemala, opportunities students at other schools often don’t have.
Peters also enjoyed the extra curriculars at RJC, outside her track and field practices at both the school and the Saskatoon Track and Field Club. She played basketball and volleyball, was student council co-president and participated in the musical. The ALSO trip to Guatemala was a highlight for her as well. While making for a busy year, the variety of activities also helped teach Peters prioritization. “It was a road block in the sense that I had to find time to do everything. But it also helped me with my time management and taught me about my priorities and what I wanted to do.”
Life at RJC gives students a wide range of opportunities and helps students pursue their priorities—qualities that make athletes stand out to recruiters. “We look for humble, hardworking, low maintenance athletes,” says Guebert. “Whether that’s a product of Carter and his family and maybe a little bit of RJC, that’s exactly what we’re looking for when we’re recruiting athletes to play that the university level.