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Local teen realizes dream, helps Team Ontario win national title

'It’s something I had always dreamed of accomplishing when I was younger but never thought of it as an obtainable goal,' says Orillia lacrosse player

Ryley Black has added a U15 national championship to her already impressive lacrosse resumé.

The Orillia Lady Kings and Barrie Bombers attacker and midfielder competed last week with Team Ontario’s box lacrosse squad at the national championships in Langley, B.C.

Black, 14, finished third in scoring with two goals and six assists in the six games played.

“It was amazing to do something like this at such a young age,” Black said. “It’s something I had always dreamed of accomplishing when I was younger but never thought of it as an obtainable goal.”

Competing on the national stage was a new experience for Black, who was one of four players in the province to be selected for both the field and box lacrosse squads for Team Ontario.

“I had to learn my own time-management skills and own routines because I didn’t have my parents to drive me everywhere,” she explained.

In the final game, Ontario topped B.C. 5-2 to earn the crown.

“There were a lot of Ontario fans there to support us,” Black said. “It felt amazing.”

She has been honing her lacrosse skills for the past three years.

“I wanted to become a better player so I could have these opportunities,” she said.

Next for Black is a trip to Rochester, N.Y., where she will compete on the international stage for a field lacrosse tournament in October. She and the field lacrosse team will then head to Texas.

Black says playing with and against the best competition in the world will only make her better. The experience is also teaching the Marchmont Public School student how to balance her studies, her social life, and lacrosse.

“It’s a little bit tough to manage because I do field lacrosse and box lacrosse at the same time,” she said. “Somehow I make it work.”

Her passion for the game makes the grind worth it.

“I love meeting new people and I love being active,” she said. “I love seeing everyone (and) I love winning and competing against people while bettering myself as a player.”

Black’s future goals include playing Division 1 field lacrosse for either Maryland or Duke. She also wants to be a pioneer in the growth of women’s box lacrosse.

“I want there to be more opportunities for girls my age, eventually, in the future,” she said.

The Orillia Lady Kings program does not offer box lacrosse programs to its players.

“They didn’t have enough girls to make a team this year,” Black explained. “They decided to have one centralized location and make a better team in Barrie.”

She hopes the tide will turn and box lacrosse will become more popular among girls, enough so to create programming in places across Canada.

“It was always something I wanted to do when my brother started playing,” she said. “There was never an opportunity for me to do so as a girl, until now.”

Black thanks all of her coaches over the years who have helped her have a successful lacrosse career to this point, especially her dad.

“He has made me the player and person that I am now,” she said.

Black also thanks her sponsors, Millwood Logistics, Urban Jars Orillia, Domino’s Pizza, Dr. Stirling and Dr. Staples Dentistry, the Barrie Minor Lacrosse Association and Budget Propane in Gravenhurst, which helped her make the trip to the national championships.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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