Saskatchewan will be sending two provincial field lacrosse teams west in search of medals on the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
Yorkton and area will be represented on both squads.
Joe Laprairie of Regina is the head coach of the 15U team, with Yorkton’s Adam Stewart one of the assistants.
“It’s the second year of this coaching staff at Nationals,” said Laprairie.
Last year the Saskatchewan team was what Laprairie called a developmental one, but also one that did quite well.
“We just finished outside of playing for bronze,” he said, noting they finished fifth.
This year the field is down to five teams, and Laprairie said they are hoping to be in the medal mix.
“We’re hoping to finish better,” he said, although he added Ontario, and host British Columbia are “heavy favourites as always,” to be on top of the heap.
The 23-member 15U team includes players from across the region, including Logan Halarewich of Melville, Toby Olynyk of Buchanan and Tomas Hauber of Canora, and Colby Johnson of Stockholm.
From Yorkton Bennett Upshall is a returnee to the team from 2017, and will wear one of the Captain’s ‘As’.
Joshua Johnson of Yorkton is one of the team’s goaltenders, and Ashton Schuster and Daxton Kulcsar are at attack.
The 18U team is being coached by Prince Albert’s Javan Bexon. Like Laprairie, Bexon is hoping for better things in Kelowna.
“Last year we lost in the bronze medal game to Quebec,” he said.
This year he hopes to bring home medals, with only four teams taking part a medal round berth in assured, and again B.C. and Ontario are heavily favoured to meet for gold. So Bexon has his sights set on winning bronze.
“We’re hoping to come out with a medal this year,” he said.
Bexon said the team certainly looks stronger headed west.
“Last year we didn’t have a whole lot of kids try-out for the team,” he said, adding this year numbers “quadrupled.”
As a result the team is stronger.
“We’ve got a good group of kids,” he said, adding across the province field lacrosse has stabilized as a program with numbers starting to grow.
Jarvis Zawatsky of Yorkton, Seth Rayner of Stenen, Carter Masley of Sturgis, and William Hauber of Canora are the local area players on the team.