Cornish's time to shine

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

He won't get nearly the attention from the Canadian media that Jesse Lumsden did two years ago when he was considered an outsider entering the hype of NFL draft day.

But British Columbia's Jon Cornish may hear something Burlington native Lumsden did not: His name being called sometime late in the seventh-round draft.

After setting a single-season rushing record for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2006, Cornish has suddenly emerged as a player on the radar for the April 21-22 talent crapshoot.

"A lot of scouts have been pretty frank with me," says Cornish, who rushed for 1,457 rushing yards , tops in the Big 12 conference and 10th among Division 1 backs. "They've said: 'Just don't even bother on the first day.'

"At the same time, they have said I'll definitely be picked up if I manage to slip through the cracks."

Lumsden heard the same stories, of course, only to sit through two agonizing days before settling on a free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks. When that, and a training camp stint with the Washington Redskins didn't work out the following season, Lumsden moved to a CFL career in Hamilton.

Cornish, a second-round pick (13th overall) of the Calgary Stampeders, is ranked around 20th-25th among the 186 running backs eligible for the draft.

Scouts have been following the 6-foot, 205-pounder's moves, most notably those from the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears, who Cornish says have expressed some serious interest.

"For me right now it doesn't matter where I go or who I'll be behind," Cornish said. "I just want to get on a roster and show what I can do. Being drafted at this point is something not a lot of Canadians can say."

Although he ultimately went undrafted, Lumsden's story was huge because of his background in Canadian university ball and record-setting career at McMaster.

The hook with Cornish, who played high school ball in New Westminster, B.C., is that he didn't earn the starting job at Kansas until his senior year.

WEARY AT THE WIRE

John Hayes will never look at one of his horses fading in the stretch the same way again.

Not after the Beamsville harness trainer felt the agony of the closing miles of the Boston Marathon, which he completed for the first time on Monday.

"I'll have a new appreciation for what's going on," the 58-year-old son of the late Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer also named John. "It's easy to have a bellyful of oats and feel good. It's another thing to be totally empty."

According to official results, with a time of three hours 45 minutes and 41 seconds, Hayes finished 12,093rd overall and 1,535th in his division (over 50.)

But like most who complete the storied event for the first time, Hayes felt nothing but exhilaration.

"This is something you are doing for yourself, if your performance satisfies you, it's all that matters," Hayes said. "There was a whole bunch in front of me and a few behind me and I was okay with that. It was unlike anything I've done before."

IT' A DRAW

It will be in the wee hours of the morning Vancouver time when Even Pellerud, the coach of Canada's women's national soccer team, gets the word of what awaits this September.

So Pellerud doesn't expect to sleep much Saturday in advance of the draw for the women's World Cup in China.

"A World Cup draw is always a tense moment in a coach's life," Pellerud, whose team is ranked 10th in the world, told Soccer Canada's website. "The official draw is one of those uncontrollable events."

The Canadian team, which finished fourth at the 2003 event, currently is training in Vancouver, preparing for a couple of friendlies next month on the way to the Cup.

RAP SHEET

A season that started at long, long odds of 150-1 to win a championship has gotten considerably more optimistic for the Raptors.

As the team gets set for home-court advantage in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Raps are as low as 22-1 in some Las Vegas sports books.

While that hardly makes them favourites, Toronto currently is the ninth choice on the board. When the season tipped off, they were second worst.

In the bookies' eyes anyway, the Raps aren't such a stretch to make it to the NBA final given their 7-2 odds to win the Eastern Conference.

DOT ... DOT ... DOT

LONGLEY ALSO HEARS ...

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