Two Shawnigan students are getting a taste of international competition.
Grade 11 girls Sophie M. and Birkley A. are currently representing Canada on an under-17 field hockey tour of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Selected to the national team based on their previous tournament play, the pair departed early Wednesday morning, meeting their head coach and many of their teammates for the first time on their arrival in Holland.
Based in the Cowichan Valley, both athletes have seen their development benefit from playing on Shawnigan's water-based turf field, and from the coaching they've received from Andi Conroy, Shiaz Virjee, and Cowichan Field Hockey.
Set to remain overseas for 9 days, their busy tour includes fixtures against some of Europe's top youth teams – including the Belgian U-16 squad – with the team posting a .500 record so far.
"We're so proud of their amazing achievement," says Shawnigan Coach Andi Conroy. "It's not easy to balance school commitments and external, high-performance sport, but these two young women constantly strive for personal excellence. They're great ambassadors for our school and our field hockey program, and we're excited for the experience they'll bring back from Europe."
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.