Wearing her new purple Northwestern hoodie

Wildcats welcome local lacrosse star

Selene Lasota is heading to Northwestern on a scholarship

Heads up city lacrosse fans: Your new favourite colour is purple and you’ll want to subscribe to the Big Ten Network.

Not just yet, but next year when Campbell River’s Selena Lasota heads to Northwestern University in Chicago on a full scholarship.

“I’m pretty excited,” says Lasota, who’s still learning about one of America’s largest cities. “I know they call it the Windy City and Oprah lives there…apparently.”

Come September 2014, Lasota will be living in Chicago too. The Grade 12 Carihi Secondary student recently committed to Northwestern after coaches with the premier U.S. women’s lacrosse program saw her speed and scoring touch.

“The assistant coach saw me playing at last year’s President’s Cup in Florida. It was only the second field lacrosse game I had ever played. She liked it, I guess,” says Lasota.

Carihi principal Sean Toal sums it up another way, “She’s very modest, but a fierce competitor.”

Lasota, 17, grew up in Campbell River playing box lacrosse for the Ravens organization. She was one of the leading scorers on the provincial champion peewee squad and she’s progressed ever since, thanks in part to the boys.

“I got my speed from trying to keep up to the boys – I was always up there with the boys – and better,” she says with a smile.

As a 16-year-old, Lasota was invited to try out for the provincial U18 squad. Not only did she make the team, she was named captain and then led Team BC to the national title.

She didn’t join the team this past season. Not because she wasn’t wanted or needed, but because Lasota is an amateur athlete who’s paid her own way with the help of her family.

“I could have played for Canada. I was really bummed out I couldn’t go, but  I figure that I have lots of opportunities,” she says.

Travelling to Vancouver to regularly practice, buying equipment, having some spending money for bigger trips all adds up. Her parents have supported her in all ways, but this summer Lasota decided she needed to work to “help out.”

“It says a lot about her character,” notes Toal.

But don’t feel too sorry for Lasota. She spent the summer living with her grandparents in the stunningly beautiful West Coast community of Kyuquot working for Murphy’s Sportfishing lodge as a housekeeper.

“I have no regrets,” she states. “I spent time with my grandparents, went boating and kayaking…how cool is that?”

And now it’s back to business. She’s got the school side down, averaging A’s and B’s, and she’s satisfied the academic demands of the U.S. which allowed her to sign with the Northwestern Wildcats.

Lasota is expected in Chicago Dec. 5, to take part in a lacrosse clinic and then she’s due back in the spring, along with the rest of her new teammates for orientation.

And last week Lasota was back in Florida, playing again for Team BC at the President’s Cup for women’s field lacrosse.

The tournament was featured by Insidelacrosse.com who profiled 10 athletes, just one of whom was Canadian. It was Lasota, of course.

Here’s what writer Danielle Bernstein of Inside Lacrosse had to say about Lasota’s game at the attack and midfield positions:

“(She) was one of the best players on the field. An extremely athletic player with speed who could also take draws, Lasota has a rocket shot, can bury the ball from long range and she had the ability to take over a game. When Team BC Canada went down 3-0 early against RC Elite Gold, she scored the next three goals, most on strong dodges to the cage, to knot the game and give her team momentum.”

Typically, first-year university players only practice with the team as “Redshirt” freshmen and then are slowly given more playing time as they mature to their senior year.

And most first-year players should expect that when they’re joining a team which has won seven of eight national championships – the last coming in 2012 – but not Lasota.

“My goal right now is to get to Northwestern and keep doing what I’m doing,” she says. “My goal is to play and to be the best. I want to play in a lot of games in my freshman year and, yes, to strive to be the best!”

And, for the record, Lasota likes purple, the colour of the Wildcats.