LANA Skeldon has medals in abundance. Medals she has received for her achievements in her chosen sport.
It would be easy to think that Lana has made her mark in the likes of swimming, tennis or athletics, sports commonly associated with girls.
But that’s not quite the way it is for the 17-year-old, for rugby is the name of her game and it has been since she was ten.
Her first steps onto a rugby pitch came on the pastures of Wilton Lodge Park with Wilton Primary School, and since then she has graced the hallowed turf at Murrayfield.
Talking of her involvement in the oval ball game, a sport that is becoming increasingly popular with girls and ladies, Lana told the Hawick News: “I played football for Wilton at first and then started the rugby. It was something I got into right away and I just loved playing against the other primary schools and in the Keown Trophy.
“Wilton didn’t win the trophy while I was there but I got a runners-up medal and I remember I was really chuffed with this.”
A real natural on the rugby pitch, Lana’s playing of the game was put on hold for a while when she was at high school as Hawick didn’t have a girls’ team.
But a move was just around the corner as her rugby career continued.
“There was a girls’ rugby team in Galashiels and it was the only one in the Borders so I joined their under-15 side,” said Lana.
“I was only 12 at the time and I had to get special permission to play as I was a bit young for the team.
“But it didn’t bother me that I was mainly playing against older girls, I was just happy to be playing rugby.”
Joining the Gala girls’ side has brought about some golden moments for Lana.
In her first season, along with fellow Hawick girls Hannah McHugh and Melanie Robson, she helped Gala hit the high spots and lift silverware.
Firstly, they won the national girls seven-a-side title at Murrayfield and then the Scottish Girls Cup at the same venue.
The following season, Gala pulled off the same magnificent double with Lana and Melanie once again part of the victorious squad.
A year after this the Gala Under-15s made it a hat-trick of Scottish Cup titles, courtesy of a thumping 63-0 win over Carrick.
In this encounter Lana shone by scoring two tries and kicking nine conversions to be rightly named player-of-the-game.
Her exploits with Gala haven’t gone unnoticed as she has also been involved in Scottish Under-16 squads and has represented her country at this level.
However, although she is currently in the Scottish Under-18 squad, Lana has yet to find a settled position.
She explained: “I started off as a hooker and have also played scrum-half and flanker. It’s difficult to know where to play as I enjoy all of the positions and really I just like playing rugby.”
As well as her versatility, Lana is also held in high regard for her goal-kicking. From all angles of the field she has the flair and ability to get the ball soaring between the sticks.
Last season, with tries included, she notched up a hugely impressive 240 points.
Looking to the future, she said: “I’ve now started to play for Melrose Ladies and I’m really enjoying it. Ladies’ rugby is growing and it’s very well organised now. When you’re involved in the Scottish squads everything is very professionally done at the training sessions and it’s great to be part of this.
“It’s my main ambition to get a full cap for the Scottish Ladies’ side.”