After being part of multiple gold-winning lacrosse teams, including the Team Ontario girls’ field lacrosse team which won nationals in 2016 and the Huntsville Hawks boys’ box lacrosse team that won provincials in 2018, local player Kaiya Roberson has received a lacrosse scholarship to attend the University of Charleston in West Virginia.
“I play because lacrosse continuously pushes me to grow to become a stronger person,” says Roberson.
She began her lacrosse career as a Huntsville Hawk, playing on the organization’s boys’ box lacrosse teams for 13 years and its field lacrosse teams for eight. Of Cory Veitch, her Hawks coach for both box and field lacrosse, she says, “He always treated me like one of the boys and would tell me I was the toughest boy on the team. He has always encouraged me, been a huge supporter and helped ignite my love for the game.”
Her best lacrosse memory so far is of her Hawks box lacrosse team winning gold at provincials in 2018, her last year with the team.
“It was the second time winning provincials with them but that winning ended my boys’ box career and was an amazing feeling. I really miss my Hawks lacrosse family and hanging with them every week at practice, games and tournaments,” she says.
As a Hawk, she also helped the field team win silver at provincials, along with numerous tournament wins. And she received several accolades of her own: in 2012, Roberson won the Most Improved Player award; in 2014 she won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player for U13 boys’ field lacrosse; and in 2018, Roberson won the Jimmy Thomson Award for the ‘player who shows most enjoyment and dedication’ for the game.
Coach Veitch says, “Kaiya was a pleasure to coach, always showing up at practices and games with a smile on her face and ready to give 100 per cent effort. She showed a true love for the game of lacrosse. I’m proud of her and wish her all the best as she continues on with her journey in the game.”
While a Hawk, she played on Team Ontario’s girls’ box lacrosse team during the summer of 2016, a team that won gold at the nationals in Calgary, Alberta. “I couldn’t play the year before because of a concussion I had received at boys’ field provincials,” she noted. She also played for the Huntsville High School girls’ field lacrosse team for one season.
From the Hawks, Roberson moved on to play with several elite girls’ teams.
During the fall of 2018, Roberson started playing girls’ field lacrosse with the Evolve team in Brampton. “We travelled to tournaments and the President’s Cup in Florida. I also played with them in the fall of 2019. I attended Everest Academy in Vaughn this past year for more lacrosse training and to help me achieve my goal of getting a scholarship.”
She says her coach at both Evolve and Everest, Hanna Burnett, “taught me a great deal about girls’ field and pushed me to get better. I would not have made it to where I am in girls’ field without her encouraging me. It is because of her that I also fell in love with girls’ field lacrosse.”
Roberson also played for a U.S. elite team in August 2019 for the festival during the U19 Women’s World Cup held in Peterborough. “We won silver and I made some new friends.”
And finally, she played for the Orillia Lady Kings field lacrosse team last year, and was looking forward to a second season this year until it was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Lacrosse has given me the opportunity to meet many new people from all over North America,” she says. “I am passionate about the sport of lacrosse and miss it when I’m not playing.”
Roberson has put tremendous effort into her sport on her way to reaching her goal of receiving a field lacrosse scholarship for a U.S. university.
With in-person visits cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been watching online tours of campuses and having Zoom meetings with the coaches of various university teams. “I was able to receive scholarship offers and chose to commit to [University of] Charleston [in West Virginia]in May.”
Roberson adds that she is “always looking to improve more and challenge myself to learn new lacrosse skills. My next goal is to get field time with the university and help them win more games to move up in rankings.”
Coach Burnett says, “Kaiya has worked incredibly hard adapting to the women’s field game after growing up playing boys’ lacrosse and now we are so thrilled that she’s earned a scholarship to play for the University of Charleston West Virginia this fall. Kaiya has always had a passion for lacrosse, but her incredible work ethic and the effort she put into developing her individual skills mixed with her willingness to always play for her teammates has led to this incredible opportunity. Kaiya is focused and will be a strong middle-defender for the UCWV Golden Eagles.”
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