Royal Bay Secondary School’s lacrosse academy has been producing the next generation of the sport’s top athletes for the past five years, with many graduating to play Div. 1 NCAA lacrosse at universities down in the U.S.
On Wednesday (Dec. 14), dozens of the program’s alumni, current members and their families gathered at the school for the program’s first-ever alumni night, for some fun scrimmages and plenty of catching up.
“It’s really great to be back here to see the current team, see all the guys going through the program, it’s also great to be able to catch up with all your buddies who have been away at school,” said 2021 graduate Noah Manning. “This is the first one we’ve done, but we are all hoping it becomes a yearly thing.”
Manning also had another reason to enjoy the event: his younger brother Grayson Manning is currently in Grade 11 and going through the lacrosse program, so it provided a chance for some friendly brotherly competition on top of catching up with old friends.
“It’s one of those opportunities to celebrate the program. It has produced a lot of really great lacrosse players. It’s also Christmas, so it’s nice to have a good chunk of the community out here,” said Nichola Manning, the brothers’ mother. “We spent a lot of time with these people with two kids playing lacrosse, so it’s nice to see them from the parent’s perspective as well. It’s lots of fun.”
The Greater Victoria region has always been known as a hot bed for lacrosse in Canada, and programs like Royal Bay’s lacrosse academy has been a significant contributor to it in recent years. As an academy, rather than a simple school team, the students going through it are practicing lacrosse each and every day, leading to a bond Noah Manning said is hard to find anywhere else.
“This program means a lot to a lot of people, that’s why you see so many people here tonight,” he said.
“Lacrosse is a really uniting sport, whether it is friends on the sidelines or the players themselves,” added Nichola Manning. “The coaching is also a lot more than just playing lacrosse, it’s guiding them through the recruiting process, it’s being a good person generally.”