Team Ontario meet team Owen Sound.
A heavy contingent of local talent has been named to Team Ontario girls’ field lacrosse squads. Seven NorthStars were selected to represent the province at national tournaments in 2018.
Jillian Goldie, Cameron Gateman, Kennedy Stauffer, Taylor Chegahno, and Kennedy Coghlin will all suit-up for Team Ontario under-15 while Kariya Beach made the under-17 squad, again, and Lauren Radbourne graduates to the under-19 program after playing alongside Beach in 2017.
NorthStars under-19 head coach Lyndsay Brooks has been named the head coach of Team Ontario under-17 after serving as an assistant coach with the provincial team last summer.
“I love that we have so many local girls that are working very hard to take their game to the next level and are being rewarded with making these teams and getting these experiences,” said Brooks. “It also shows other local kids what they can achieve.”
NorthStars under-15 coach Stacey Goldie remembers a time when these girls looked in awe of former Team Ontario athlete Torey Barfoot while at practice four years ago.
“In regards to how far they’ve come since under-11, wow,” she said. “I remember their little faces and intent stares of amazement when I shared Torey’s bio . . . it’s pretty cool how they are following her footsteps. It really is a privilege to be in this role and to have the opportunity to see how the girls have progressed over the years.”
Brooks has been a coach with the Team Ontario program in different capacities for years prior to her ascension to head coach of the under-17 club in 2018. She is also one of Canada’s international level officials.
Brooks is a teacher at Owen Sound District Secondary School where both Beach (Grade 10) and Radbourne (Grade 11) played volleyball as well as lacrosse. Radbourne also played basketball and badminton this past year and was named OSDSS senior female athlete of the year.
“In the off season these ladies also play other competitive level and school sports. I think this cross training has served them well by enhancing their mental toughness and making them more dynamic players,” said Goldie.
Radbourne’s first season with the under-19 team will feature a national championship tournament later this summer.
“When she is on the field you see how much better the defence runs. She is playing on the under-19 team who will represent Ontario at national championships in Calgary in mid August,” Brooks said. “(She is) an incredible teammate and natural leader.”
Beach is a midfielder, and 2018 will be her third season with the Team Ontario under-17 team.
“One of the most talented players in her age group. She is fast and smart but also growing into a leader. She is a very dynamic player and determined to always be better,” said Brooks.
While Brooks and Radbourne have found success in the higher age groups of provincial lacrosse, the five girls to make Team Ontario’s under-15 squad are symptomatic of the local field lacrosse program’s effectiveness, said Goldie.
“The program has grown incredibly over the past few years and offers learn-to-play programs for girls as young as four and five years old. With fun development opportunities starting so young, I’m sure girls will develop a love and desire for the game early on. As a result, I think more athletes will join the growing list of girls playing at the next level,” she said. “Of course none of this is possible without families who support their player’s goals.”
Team Ontario athletes are selected through a process of identification tryouts before invitational camps and final camps when coaches and evaluators narrow down and announce the completed rosters ahead of the summer’s tournaments and field lacrosse festivals.
The under-19 Women’s Field Lacrosse National Invitational tournament, as well as the under-15 Girl’s Field Lacrosse Festival, will be hosted in Calgary from August 18 to 19.
A final date and location for the international under-17 Women’s Field Lacrosse tournament, the Brogden Cup, has yet to be determined.