Four Maple Ridge Secondary students are hoping to make names for themselves in the NCAA next season.
Jaxon Brant, Noah Bradly, Cole Low, and Jacob Pahnke have seen plenty of success with their lacrosse careers so far and scholarships to Division I and II schools are their latest achievements.
As members of the Ridge Meadows Burrards they have won provincial championships with both their U-15 and U-18 squads, and now they’ve conquered B.C., the athletes are hoping to replicate the feat in the U.S.
Brad Rennie coached the young men when they were playing for the Burrards U-15 squad. He mentioned being impressed with their accomplishments but not surprised.
“They just seem to be a different breed of athlete to be honest with you,” Rennie said. “Not only were they pivotal leaders on the field, they’re also excellent leaders in the community as well, and that’s why they stand out.”
He said coaching the players as they rose through the local ranks was an honour.
“I’ve learned as much from these guys as they have from me. Competition’s within their blood, so it’s been fun as a coach to sit back and watch all the hard work they’ve put in to reap the rewards at this time in their careers.”
Jacob Pahnke will play at the highest level of the four. He received a four year scholarship to play lacrosse at Div. I school, Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.
He said it was a relief to finally settle on a place to continue to pursue his passion for the sport.
“You spend two years talking to schools and going to all the tournaments, so it felt good to make a decision,” Pahnke noted, adding he’s looking forward to playing the sport he loves while getting an education at the same time.
Cole Lowe, who earned a four year scholarship to North Greenville University in South Carolina, is excited to branch out on his own for the first time.
He said he will major in international business, and has set a few goals for himself in the sport.
“Hopefully I’ll make the all-state team down there,” Lowe said. “I’m going to have to hit the gym, get my fitness up, and then kill it on the field.”
Jaxon Brant and Noah Bradley will have the benefit of going to the same school. They have both accepted scholarships to Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina.
“I’m really excited to go there,” said Brant. “I’m excited to be on my own, and to have the freedom, and grow up a bit. It’s a new chapter.”
In addition to playing lacrosse, he plans on studying graphic design, and hopes to become a firefighter some day.
His future room mate, Bradley, said he never thought he would be able to get this far with lacrosse.
“Honestly, I’m kind of humbled by it,” he said. “Just to be there playing with some top end players… it’s going to be fun.”
A commitment to grinding on the field has resulted in the honour, he said.
“I think my strength is the effort I put into my game,” Bradley said, “Typical I like to go for those ground balls.”
Travis Gathercole was the coach of the Ridge Meadows Burrards U-18 team which just won this year’s provincial championship.
He is quick to heap praise on the talented young players.
“All of those kids did whatever was asked of them and they did it to a very high standard,” Gathercole said.
“I’m not at all surprised they got the offers they did. They’re great kids, great athletes, and they’ve got good heads on their shoulders.”
The coach also pointed out a lot of praise deserves to go to scholarship recipients’ team mates who pushed them on to success.
“If you look at the overall picture, they wouldn’t have achieved what they have if they didn’t have the quality of athletes to train against consistently.”