The ball doesn’t bounce far from the nurturing lacrosse tree.
Three Claremont Secondary players, all offspring of Mann Cup champion former Victoria Shamrocks, have committed to NCAA Division 1 teams in the U.S.
Finn Halladay, son of Del Halladay, will play field lacrosse at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Kyle Pepper, son of Grant Pepper, and Sylvi Jenner, daughter of Fred Jenner, will both play at St. Bonaventure in upstate New York.
“It’s a cool lineage,” said Claremont athletic director Darren Reisig, also a Mann Cup champion former Shamrocks player in the Western Lacrosse Association and pro in the National Lacrosse League.
“The extra special aspect of this recruitment class are the ties to the Shamrocks of these three players as their fathers are ’Rocks alumni and Mann Cup winners from the 1990s.”
The Claremont trio brings to 100 the number of Spartans lacrosse players recruited into the NCAA over the years.
“NCAA lacrosse teams still want Canadians,” said Reisig.
That’s largely because stick skills are honed best in the box version of the sport, which is more popular in Canada.
The business of university and college sports recruiting, meanwhile, continues despite most graduating Grade 12s across North America this year not having had a senior season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is still some tape [from previous years] and we have many contacts,” said Reisig.
“All were good offers. These three did well.”
That still won’t take away the sting for the lost Class of 2021 across all sports, at Claremont, and high schools across the Island, province and country.
“We [would have] had good teams this year at Claremont in basketball and volleyball.
“I feel badly for all the student athletes who lost out on the season, especially the Grade 12s,” said Reisig.
“They were given the choice to practise and also compete against each other in cohorts within the school. Sadly, that’s where we’re at and all we can offer them.”
For at least three Spartans athletes, it will be from the practice pitch to hopefully more of a semblance of normality starting their NCAA careers in the post-vaccine era come September.