When the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Lacrosse Championships kick off on Aug. 1 at Trent University, this year’s athletes will find themselves playing on grounds that have very quickly become hallowed in the world of women’s lacrosse.
For the Trent University Excalibur Women’s Lacrosse program, expectations have been exceeded in every season since the program’s inception in 2013. In six short years The Excalibur have won two Ontario University Athletic Championships medals, a bronze in 2018 and the coveted provincial gold in 2016 – a fitting end for a perfect record season for the team. Impressive, to say the least, for a team created only four years earlier.
Deborah Bright-Brundle, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Trent, credits the team’s impressive successes to the coaching staff of Tori Wasson, Ashley Curtis, and Sara Gardner, who built the Trent program from the ground up.
“They’re a great coaching staff that provides exceptional leadership for our young female student-athletes,” she says.
In the beginning, Wasson, Curtis, and Gardner focused on “building a team culture with high performance goals that they used to set the team on a pathway towards success and they didn’t give in to any adversity along the way,” says Bright-Brundle.
All three of Trent’s coaches are products of the Peterborough area lacrosse landscape. Learning and honing in their skills with the Kawartha Women’s Field Lacrosse program, Curtis, Wasson, and Gardner all went on to play collegiate lacrosse in Canada or the United States (Garner with Brock University, Wasson with the University of Vermont and University of Toronto, and Curtis with Canisius College).
Curtis helps coach the Trent women’s squad on the same field that she played on with Team Canada in 2007, the last time Trent University and Peterborough hosted the U19 Women’s World Lacrosse Championships.
When Peterborough was named host of the 2019 edition of the tournament, Trent Excalibur Head Coach Wasson knew it was the ultimate chance to give back to the city that had given her to pursue the game of lacrosse.
“It feels so good to give local athletes the opportunity to play lacrosse at the university level in the City of Peterborough and Trent University has been the perfect place to have that happen,” she says.
“We’ve had the opportunity to be a part of some really special moments at Trent in such a short amount of time but the best thing is of course developing the game of lacrosse at the university level locally so we can continue to grow interest in the game for the future.”
The Trent University Excalibur women’s lacrosse program continues to reach new heights as it matures.
When asked what it meant having a high calibre varsity program like this, Bright-Brundle says, “We couldn’t be prouder of them in both their success on the field as student-athletes as well as how they represent the green and white of Trent University.”
This article has been published in the Peterborough Examiner as part of a series leading up to the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 women’s lacrosse championship