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Local players win bronze at lacrosse nationals

A come-from-behind victory over Quebec wraps up bronze medal for Team Saskatchewan.

Over the September Labour Day long weekend, the First Nations Cup Field Lacrosse National Championships were held in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association sent two teams to represent the province, U15 and U18. The selection process began in January 2022 and lasted into June. Toby Olynyk of Buchanan and Xage Miraflor of Sturgis were both selected to the U18 team.  

This was Olynyk’s third time representing the Sturgis Lacrosse Association on the national stage with Team Saskatchewan and his second time being named team captain, according to a report from nationals. Team Saskatchewan Coach Javan Bexson commended Olynyk for his unselfish leadership and contributions to the team’s success.

Bexson said, “Toby was team captain and started the tournament playing a defensive midfielder role. After Game 2 we lost an experienced physical defensive pole to injury and discussed with Toby the possibility of potentially playing dPole. He was open to the idea to help the team. He moved to a starting long stick midfield role and caused many turnovers and collect many ground balls.” 

For Miraflor, this was his first year representing the Sturgis Lacrosse Association at nationals with Team Saskatchewan. “Xage was an absolute beast at the faceoff X.,” reported Coach Bexson. “He caught the eye of many scouts and teams struggled to compete with his speed. He found the back of net several times on fast breaks from faceoff wins.”

Team Saskatchewan finished second in its pool with a record of two wins and one loss. The wins came in games versus New Brunswick and Manitoba, while the only loss was to Team B.C., the eventual gold medal winners. This set up Team Saskatchewan in the semifinal matchup against Team Ontario, the silver medalists.

After a loss to Ontario in the semifinals, Team Saskatchewan played for a bronze medal versus Team Quebec. Quebec started strong with an early lead, but Olynyk calmed his teammates down and reminded them that they were there to win a medal and they were not going home empty handed. The team rallied and stormed back to beat Quebec 10-8.

Both Olynyk and Miraflor will now move on to play with the Saskatoon Sentinels, who are planning trips to Delaware in November and Las Vegas in December for elite level lacrosse tournaments.


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