Seven and, potentially, eight young ladies from the Peace Country could be on the 15U girls volleyball squad at next month's B.C. Summer Games in Prince George.
Emerson Whitford, Lillian Moore, Addison Stone, and Sylvie Millymaki from Fort St. John, along with Dawson Creek's Anneka Lekstrom, Arielle Spencer, and Jasmine Vigar have secured seven of the fourteen spots on the team.
Tomslake's Keira Heartt is in a reserve role and could possibly crack the line-up in the event of an injury.
“I'm not surprised at all,” answered Zone 8 head coach Mark LaFleur, when asked about the strong core of young talent assembled at a two-day camp held in Dawson Creek over the weekend.
“Traditionally, we get good talent from the North in all sports, including volleyball. It's very common for us to get good athletes, including from the northeast,” added LaFleur, who teaches at Prince George's Duchess Park Secondary School.
The remaining seven places on the Cariboo-Northeast team, as it stands, are filled with players from Prince George.
While a normal roster would be 12, teams at this year's B.C. Summer Games will carry 14.
“Volleyball BC wants us to develop a lot of kids. So, we have 14 kids on the competing roster and we have seven (more) kids that are training with us. For them, it's an awesome opportunity to learn,” said LaFleur.
Two of the starters and five on the non-competing (reserve) roster are under the age of 14.
“For Volleyball BC, it's all about developing the sport,” he said.
It's also about keeping everyone healthy to play, as LaFleur pointed out.
“We're doing a lot of injury prevention. Lots of warm-ups, cool downs. We're being careful, having lots of rest time in between. Training sessions, the drills are structured to minimize potential injuries.”
In total, the team will hold four practice weekends ahead of the games July 21-24.
This past weekend in Dawson was the second set. The final two will be back in Prince George.
Expect, as well, to see other players from the region make some strides in the sport in the not-too-distant-future.
Emilia Dyksterhuis and Jillian Stone, both from Fort St. John, have been invited to provincial tryouts for 16/17 year-olds, the two, taking part at the June 25-26 15U practice sessions, at LaFleur's request.
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