Three West Shore lacrosse athletes are headed to the B.C. Summer Games this month.
Riley Drew, 14, Kaden Granberg, 15, and Noah Manning, 15, have all competed at national and international lacrosse competitions, so they aren’t nervous to play on a big stage, they’re excited, especially to represent the Island, Drew said.
Drew, a student at Dunsmuir Middle school, travelled to California in January to play with Team B.C.’s U14 team in the 2018 Sand Storm Lacrosse tournament.
Manning and Granberg both participate in the Royal Bay Academy and went to the national pee wee box lacrosse championships in 2015. Manning was also instrumental in helping the Juan de Fuca A1 midget lacrosse team beat Coquitlam to win their first gold of the season.
Longtime coach of youth field lacrosse, Sean Walmsley, and has coached nine of the players before this year’s Games.
Walmsley said there was enough talent at tryouts this year to have made two teams that would have been top contenders in the B.C. Summer Games. They had 57 athletes aged 14 to 15 years old tryout for the 19 roster spots for the Vancouver Island zone. Walmsley has been scouting since February, putting his team together.
Granberg said he’s played with roughly half of his Vancouver Island zone teammates and the team is looking strong this season.
“I know how most of them play…it’ll be fun to see how the team works with new faces,” he said. “I just feel like it’s a really good honour to make the team.”
Manning said throughout their careers in box and field lacrosse, playing for different clubs and associations, they have played against their now teammates and some of the best competition in the province.
“After a few practices I’m sure we’ll be familiar with each other,” he said.
Walmsley said over the course of the next month it will be a building process, first getting them to jell, and putting the work in to peak at the right time. The players are also playing box lacrosse through until the end of July, so will be getting their reps in.
“Box is more tight,” Granberg said. “So you gotta keep your sticks fine-tuned for box and then field’s more spread out so it’s easier to catch,” noting that even though he isn’t worried about being rusty, the competition from zones 3 and 4, the Fraser Valley and Fraser River, respectively, will be intense.
Walmsley said at their first practice the boys came out with energy and excitement and a strong skill set, “hopefully a good sign moving forward,” he said.
The 2018 B.C. Summer Games will take place at 27 venues throughout the Cowichan region from July 19 to 22. There will be around 2,500 athletes competing from across B.C. representing eight zones throughout the province.