Three local Orillia Lady Kings players have been selected to play for Team Ontario and are set to compete south of the border this fall.
Ali Rolston, 13, is set to join Team Ontario for the U15 Mid Atlantic Showcase in Baltimore, Maryland from Nov. 13 to 15.
“It means a lot to make this team considering a lot of the players on the team are older than me,” Rolston said.
The Marchmont Public School Grade 8 student spent six hours a day this past summer practising and preparing for this next step in her career.
“I want to be prepared for the competition level because it’s going to be me playing against a bunch of people a year older than me. But I’m confident that I can do good,” Rolston said.
Playing on Team Ontario is a significant accomplishment to add to Rolston's resume as she continues to build toward her goal of playing at the post-secondary level. Rolston credits her father for helping her get to this point.
“My dad comes out and helps me train, he drives me to all my practices and games. Without him I don’t think I could do this,” she said.
Emma Torkoff, 17, will join Team Ontario for the U19 Broden Cup - USA Fall Classic from Oct. 15-17.
“It means a lot because it shows all the hard work that we’ve put into the Orillia Lady Kings program to help girls like me get opportunities like this. This is a huge opportunity for me to play with and against some of the best players in North America,” she said.
The Grade 12 Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School student played on Team Ontario in 2018 and missed in 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Torkoff says what helped her reclaim her spot was being a multi-sport athlete.
“Being a part of everything is what got me as strong as I am in lacrosse. Always having my stick in my hand and being involved in everything gets me to where I want to go,” she said.
The experience of playing for Team Ontario will help prepare Torkoff for her next challenge when she joins the lacrosse team at the University at Albany.
“Team Ontario gives me an opportunity to play a higher level of lacrosse than what I would play in the summer, and it’s going to be a higher level in university, so, it prepares me for that next step,” she said.
“All these girls playing with or against Team Ontario will be committed by the end of the year, so it’s just like playing with and against the girls I’ll be competing with in university.”
As talented as she is, Torkoff admits she couldn’t accomplish her goals without some help along the way.
“My parents have helped me with all the driving and the cost of everything. The Orillia Lady Kings program has also been crucial for getting me this far in my lacrosse career. All the coaches have helped me build a good foundation for everything,” Torkoff said.
Joining Torkoff on Team Ontario’s U-19 squad is 17-year-old Kayleigh Aitken.
“It means quite a bit to me to be able to play on Team Ontario and it’s really exciting. This will be my third year with the program, so, it’s nice to be able to say I started at Ali’s age and have worked all the way up,” she said.
“Going into university, this gives me one last experience to play against the best girls before I play them at the collegiate level. It’s a big opportunity.”
The Everest Academy student has committed to playing lacrosse at the University of Detroit Mercy.
“Team Ontario definitely helps as we prepare to play Team U.S.A. because it gives us the chance to play against the top girls in our recruiting class. So, seeing those girls on the field and the skill and talent they have gives us one last chance to see them before we play them every weekend in university,” Aitken said.
To prepare for the opportunity to represent her province, Aitken spent most of her summer training with the Orillia Lady Kings program. Atiken also credits her coaches at Everest Academy for preparing her to take the next step in her game.
“Living the student-athlete kind of life before going off to university has been very helpful for me to learn how to time manage practising every day and going to school,” she said.