Five players from the West Shore minor lacrosse bantam A1 team are representing the province on Team BC this summer.
“Making it on Team BC is a real honour,” David Byrne, 14, of Langford, who has played lacrosse for nine years.
“He was too active for T-ball,” joked his mother Michele Byrne.
Bantam Team BC and will be competing at the national level in Whitby, Ont. July 31 to Aug. 6.
Earning a spot on the 21-player roster was no easy feat. The players first had to compete in the Island tryout in April.
The tryouts were held at West Shore Parks and Recreation. The players making the cut for Team Island then travelled to Surrey to play against three other B.C. teams.
After a grueling weekend from May 13 to 15, the top players in the province were selected for Team BC, including 19 runners and two goalies.
“It’s a tough camp. It’s absolutely nerve wracking, because you know the other guy could take your spot,” said Brad McCulley, 14, from Langford. “It was a relief when I found out I made it (on Team BC) and to know everything paid off.”
While making the cut to Team BC is an amazing accomplishment, four of the five West Shore players were on the team just two years earlier.
“It’s the best feeling ever to return,” McCulley said.
Each year national minor lacrosse competitions are held in Whitby, Ont. at the Ontario Lacrosse Festival.
“It was pretty hot when we were over there last time,” said Dylan Rehman, 14, of Colwood.
Last time the teens were playing on Team BC, they came second to Team Ontario. “They are our biggest competition,” Rehman said.
While Liam Finnigan, 13, lives in Oak Bay, he makes the commute to the West Shore at least twice a week to play on the team during the season.
“This is the best team on the Island. We play as a team and not as individuals,” Finnigan said. “We also have lots of speed and fast breaks.”
Of the five who made the cut Gabe Harmon, 13, from Sooke is the only player who’s never donned the Team BC jersey. He’s talked to the other players about their previous experiences and it is excited to go to Ontario for the first time.
“We are a big, physical team. We’ll probably be bigger than some of the other people there,” Harmon said.
Gary Harmon, assistant coach of West Shore bantam A1 team, is excited to see his son Gabe and the other players make it on the provincial team.
“I think this is an awesome experience for the kids,” Gary said. “The (tryout camp) was a good experience and it helped (Gabe) get to the next level. It puts pressure in the kids and they all stepped up.”