Two St. Thomas More Collegiate seniors earned athletic scholarships to new NCAA Division I field lacrosse programs.
Long pole defender Jordan McKenzie and midfielder Connor Robinson signed their commitment letters last month to play the outdoor lacrosse game at Marquette and High Point universities, respectively, next year.
The New Westminster residents both earned valuable experience down south through the Burnaby Mountain Selects travel team program, but each eventually found a different path to their final goal.
McKenzie got his foot in the door following a short stint at a New York prep school, while Robinson went the more conventional scouted route.
While at Trinity-Pawling school, McKenzie was tutored by the lacrosse coach on how to get his name out there. Emails from interested schools quickly followed.
“A lot of schools wanted me to repeat another year of high school,” said McKenzie, who attended Trinity Pawling in New York state two years ago. “I said, ‘I’ll think about it, and the next thing I know (Marquette) was making me an offer.”
While the Milwaukee, Wisconson school is no stranger to Div. I sports, known primarily for its strong basketball programs, field lacrosse was added just last season.
The Golden Eagles will play in the Big East conference alongside such traditional powers as Syracuse, Notre Dame and Georgetown.
Marquette finished its inaugural season with a 5-8 overall record.
Robinson, who was the leading scorer on his club team over the past six seasons, was first scouted as a high school junior while with Team B.C.
“I finally got scouted in Grade 10 by High Point. I went on a visit during spring break,” said Robinson. “I liked the area and the residence, everything was close to the field.”
High Point is a small liberal arts institution of 4,500 students located in North Carolina. The program plays lacrosse in the Atlantic Sun conference. Last year, HPU debuted with a 3-11 team record.
Both McKenzie and Robinson feel the fledgling programs will give them each the best chance of making an immediate impact.
“Going to a new school, I felt like I could be a part of something sooner,” said McKenzie.
Robinson agreed. “I could start out with everyone equal on the team. I can start right away,” he said.
The two New Westminster club products enjoyed much success together at the provincial level, including a national title at under-16 in 2012.
A third New Westminster product, Mitchell Stokes, also earned an NCAA athletic scholarship in field lacrosse. Stokes signed a letter of intent with Div. II Lake Erie College.
It’s just those stick skills that are attracting more U.S. colleges to unearth the abundant hidden talent north of the 49th parrallel.
“(Scouts) just like how we have really good stick skills. They look at how good we are on ground balls and how we work in tight,” Robinson added.
© 2015 Burnaby Now