'It’s kind of surreal': Four Prince Albert lacrosse players picked for high-level U.S. teams
PRINCE ALBERT -- Four players from Prince Albert have been selected to play high-level field lacrosse for universities south of the border.
This is the first time since 2014 that a player from Prince Albert has been chosen by a post-secondary school in the U.S., according to Prince Albert Lacrosse Association coach and president Javon Bexson.
Davin Ikert, Bauer Swystun, Caidyn Prediger and Kade Beaton secuared athletic lacrosse scholarships in the U.S. and are all grade 12 students at Ecole St. Mary High School.
Bexson is also a teacher there. The players sent emails and video of their games to U.S. schools to help secure their spots.
“I was thrilled. Words can’t describe it. I was talking to many schools and I just found the one that I clicked with the best and just everything went from there,” said Ikert.
He was selected to play for the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina for the Trojans, a team currently ranked sixth in the nation in NCAA Division 2 lacrosse.
He played with Team Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Sentinels Club.
Swystun says his parents pinned some hockey hopes on him but after trying lacrosse in the off-season, it soon became his focus.
“I needed a sport to play now since I’m not doing hockey anymore and lacrosse was just kind of there and I fell in love with it,” said Swystun.
He’s secured a scholarship to Westcliff University, an NAIA school in Irvine, California.
“It’s kind of surreal feeling knowing that you can take the sport that you love and play it more than most other people can,” said Swystun.
Prediger and Beaton were both selected to attend Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois and play NCAA Division 2 for the Hawks.
“Taking a teammate and a best friend is the best part of it,” said Prediger.
Beaton says due to the pandemic he didn’t get to tour the university before the selection took place but feels it’s a good fit.
“I could just tell from talking to the coaches and the players that Quincy is going to be like a second home,” said Beaton.
Beaton played defence with the Saskatoon Sentinels and Team Saskatchewan. He says since December the group has been working out at the gym for about two hours a day to prepare to play in the U.S. in the fall of 2021.
Beaton and the other players expressed appreciation for coach Bexson.
“He pushed us and helped us get to that next level,” Beaton said.
Bexson says there’s been more interest in field lacrosse and the creation of the Saskatchewan Rush has boosted the sport’s popularity.
“We went both feet forward three years ago, and it’s grown into a lot of different opportunities for our athletes,” said Bexson.
Since the association began field lacrosse three years ago, it has doubled the amount of players in the city and had about 300 players before the pandemic.