After a busy summer of lacrosse – including the experience of a lifetime in Ireland – three local athletes are catching their breath before another university season.
Guelph's Trent DiCicco, Josh Fairey and Puslinch's Reed Kurtz were all part of Team Canada's silver medal winning field lacrosse team at the U21 world championships in Ireland earlier this month.
Fairey told GuelphToday it was cool to see the record 23 teams converge in Limerick, Ireland, competing from all over the world.
"It was really cool to be able to play against these guys, and see how lacrosse is different around the world, and how they play," he said.
The Canadian side began the tournament with a loss to the United States, but rattled off three straight wins to finish the group stage 3-1. They then took down the host Ireland team and Australia before falling 12-10 to the United States in the gold medal game.
"(The US) had an unbelievable team. Being able to play against those guys, come that close was definitely a little bit heartbreaking," Fairey said.
But it's an experience he'll take with him wherever he goes, the first time Fairey represented his country at the international level.
"That first time I got to put the jersey on, honestly it was surreal," he said. "It was everything I could've ever asked for. It was definitely a childhood dream and I'm very happy I got to experience that."
Fairey finished the tournament with a goal. DiCicco had a pair of goals, and Kurtz was held off the score sheet.
It was a long time coming to hold the tournament, originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed because of COVID.
"It was a long experience, but finally we got the final team picked and headed out to Ireland," Kurtz said. "It was pretty exciting to go and go across seas, I've never been out that way, out in Europe or anything like that."
Beyond lacrosse, the team did have time to sight see, from touring Dublin in the east when they landed, to a memorable point of the trip for Kurtz in the west.
"We had a day off where we didn't practice, didn't have a game (after completing the round robin)," he said. "Our coaches arranged a tour for us."
The team made stops in small towns and at a beach, on the way to the Cliffs of Moher to take in the scenery and bond as a team.
"It was something, when looking up Ireland and figuring out what to do there, it was pretty much the number one thing on everything I was reading, to go to the cliffs and take that view in," he said.
Before the tournament, all three played a full season of Junior A box (arena) lacrosse.
Kurtz and his top ranked Mimico Mountaineers lost in the quarter-finals of the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League playoffs.
Meanwhile, DiCicco's Victoria Shamrocks and Fairey's Toronto Beaches both advanced to the Minto Cup junior men's box lacrosse national championship, but finished short of their goal just before the trip to Ireland.
Now, all three will get the fall to train and prepare for the NCAA Division I field lacrosse season, beginning February 2023.
All three are going into their third season of eligibility. DiCicco is at Ohio State, Fairey goes to Loyola University Maryland and Kurtz is at the University of Delaware.