There are all-rounders and then there is Luke Neary. He can pretty much do it all as a rare quad-sport varsity high school athlete for the Claremont Spartans in basketball, soccer, rugby and lacrosse. But it’s the latter that got Neary an NCAA field lacrosse scholarship to play in the Big Ten as an attacking-midfielder for the University of Michigan Wolverines.
“They took us to the Big House [107,000-seat Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor] for a football game on my recruiting visit and it was crazy loud,” said Neary.
The prospects are exciting in another way on the floor in box lacrosse with the six-foot-two, 200-pound Neary being the No. 1 overall selection, by the 2022 last-place Port Coquitlam Saints, in the eight-team 2023 B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League draft of U-17 players held Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
“Going first overall was a great honour. Poco said they liked my size, strength and stick skills,” said Neary.
“But you still have to go out and prove yourself. I want to show that I deserved to be picked No. 1.”
Since Neary is only in Grade 11, a loan agreement is being worked out between the Saints and Victoria to let Luke play for two seasons on the defending B.C.-champion Junior Shamrocks with his brother Jordy Neary.
“Playing alongside my brother would be special and is the reason I would like to start out in junior by playing with the Shamrocks,” said Luke Neary, a left-shooting offensive threat in box lacrosse.
Luke is the youngest brother from a sporting family with eldest brother Keegan Neary a rugby player for the University of Calgary Dinos. Luke said he learned a great deal by watching his older brothers play sports. So he decided to try everything.
“I excelled most at lacrosse [with Saanich Tigers] and soccer [with Saanich Fusion] but decided on lacrosse as my primary sport because I liked it better,” he said.
Nobody can argue against the outcome of that decision.
But Neary isn’t about to give up his other sporting pursuits just yet and is busy year-round on pitches, gymnasium hardwood and arena floors.
“It’s a busy schedule but I make sure school comes first,” said Neary, who plans on studying business at Michigan.
The Delta Islanders selected Blake Young second overall in the BCJALL draft. The Junior Shamrocks traded out of the first round by flipping that selection, which was eighth overall, to the Islanders.
The Baby Rocks traded their second-round pick, 16th overall to the Saints. Victoria selected Matthew Oman 24th overall in the third round and Annan McAllister 32nd in the fourth round before trading their final two picks to the Saints in the six-round draft.