A pair of the Ridge Meadows Burrards finest female lacrosse players have accepted NCAA university scholarships for 2021.
Garibaldi Secondary’s Leona Sinclair will be attending Corban University in Oregon next fall, while Samuel Robertson Technical’s Alexa Ford will venture even further south after committing to Arizona State University.
Sinclair’s father, Jason, who is the current under-19 female Burrards coach, has trained the two 17-year-olds since they were around eight, and has seen them develop into skilled lacrose players.
He said Leona, who plays goalie in both field and box lacrosse, is fearless in net.
“As you might know, there’s not much padding with women’s field lacrosse, and the ball hurts when it’s shot at you,” he pointed out.
The success of the teams she plays on is also very important to her, he went on to say.
“It’s like another family for her,” he said. “She’s already in contact with her future team mates at Corban University, and they’re texting and emailing back-and-forth.”
Both girls have achieved national box lacrosse gold in 2019 as members of Team BC, in a tournament in which Ford was named MVP, and the Burrards have also won nine gold medals with the pair on their squad.
Ford was voted most inspirational player, and Sinclair was graduating player of the year in 2019 for Ridge Meadows.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Sinclair said, before talking about how much the teams she has played for mean to her.
“You make so many friendships and bonds throughout the year with everybody, and it’s a family on-and-off the field.
“No matter what, we’re always there for each other and we celebrate each other’s achievements.”
She is quick to point out the benefits of sharing a field with her fellow Burrard, Ford.
“She plays her heart out every time she steps on the field,” Sinclair said. “And it’s always amazing to watch her play. Every time she goes out there, she surprises me with some kind of new move.”
The coach agrees.
“Alexa works hard at improving her skills, and she always wants to be a better player today then she was yesterday,” he said.
“She will only make her new team at Arizona better.
“I’m confident, Alexa will make an impact in her first year and be a leader.”
Ford is a midfielder, who can score, but considers herself more of a strong playmaker.
She said she does not know what life would be like without lacrosse, as she has been playing for 12 of her 17 years.
“It really takes my mind off of things,’ she said. “I can escape when I’m playing lacrosse.”
Her decision to accept a scholarship at Arizona was due to three key factors.
“I really love the sun,” she mentioned first, laughing a little.
“And growing up, my grandparents had places down there too, so it just felt right when I went to visit the campus.”
The coaching staff was instrumental in making her choice too.
“The made me feel really wanted,” Ford said.
Growing up with Sinclair, Ford had some nice compliments for her number one goalie.
“She’s a really good team mate on-and-off the field,” Ford said. “Leona makes everyone laugh, as she’s really funny.”
Ford also echoed her coach’s sentiments about Sinclair.
“She’s a really tough player, she’s just strong, and her scholarship’s well deserved.”
Perhaps in the future, we will see the Maple Ridge pair teamed up again on Team Canada.
“I don’t know,” Ford said with a chuckle. “Maybe one day.”