Four Greater Victoria youth, including three from Langford, head to San Diego, California on Jan. 3 with the Team BC U14 squad for lacrosse.
Grade 8 students Connor Wilson, Ryan Atkinson, Nic Coleman, all from Langford, and Owen Works of Victoria, are training with the provincial squad and will all compete at the Adrenaline High School Challenge.
It’s a new and tougher level of competition for most of the boys, who train every weekend on the Lower Mainland to get up to speed.
Most started in with the sport a couple of years ago with little knowledge of what it was or how it was played. Wilson and Works were prompted by a friend and found out they enjoyed the fast-paced, tough-as-nails sport. Atkinson had wanted to play since a youngster and started with box lacrosse. He now plays both variations.
Coleman was a hockey player who saw a group playing lacrosse one day and asked to try it out. It was love at first pass.
“I played once and I was hooked forever,” he said. “It’s fast paced and pretty aggressive.”
“It’s not a really big sport so it’s fun to try and make it bigger,” Atkinson said. “Kids in our school play now because of us.”
Now Wilson, Atkinson and Coleman play for the Victoria Field Lacrosse league, while Works plays for Pacific Rim Field Lacrosse. To get on the provincial team the boys tried out at an invitational main camp with about 45 players, with 18 ultimately selected.
With last season’s Victoria Shamrocks playoff run and more lacrosse being shown on TV, the boys say they’re getting a lot of joy watching the popularity of the sport grow.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Atkinson said. “When we started out hardly anyone knew what it was.”
The four players are now focused on raising money to help pay for their trip down to California. They figure they collectively need about $2,000 for gear, then airfare and accommodation on top of that.
They’re planning bottle drives and turning to local businesses in the hopes of finding sponsors, the names of which would be displayed on their bags. The first bottle drive is Dec. 21 at the Langford Rona. If any businesses can donate refundable bottles a weekly pickup can be arranged.
Once there they say moving the ball and picking the corners will be the key to success.
Anyone willing to sponsor the boys can contact Susan Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 250-391-0676.