It’s been a sensational last 12 months for Oak Park student, and lacrosse standout Elle Garriock.
First, the class of 2024 prospect helped the Raiders win the inaugural MHSFLL women’s sixes league, playing all over the field as captain. Then, she suited up for Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games, making history as women’s box lacrosse made its debut.
Then, at the end of October, she and her teammates ventured to Minneapolis to participate in a tournament called The Great Pumpkin Shootout, and in late November, Garriock returned to the states.
Her most recent trip was one for the memory books. She was called up as a guest player for the South Florida Express, venturing to Texas to play in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Presidents Cup.
The Presidents Cup is one of ten showcase tournaments organized by the IWCLA, as a way to help provide exposure to women in lacrosse. The tournaments offer an outlet for university coaches in the states to meet the next generation of top talent, while the players are also able to showcase their skills.
It’s safe to say the experience paid off for Garriock. She made her name known to scouts, did her research and ultimately committed to play for McKendree University in Illinois. She went down for a visit last month, and shortly after made her choice to play for the Bearcats, an NCAA Division 2 team.
“When I went down to Texas, I ended up playing midfield. I did really well there. I was able to pick up the ball, carry it up super fast, and it ended up working out well. I believe I’m going to be a middy when I end up going there,” she says.
“The main goal was to take my sport up to the next level. Going to university was always something that I thought of, but was never something I thought I would be able to do. Starting from sixes last year to being committed now is just amazing for me. Now I just work off of that and still try and get better, so that I can be as good as I possibly can be.”
As Garriock mentioned, just over a year ago, she was part of the first cohort of student-athletes to play women’s sixes at the local high school level. With previous experience, she was a leader for a group that had played hockey, but was relatively unfamiliar with field lacrosse.
Through a commitment to each other, and a steady growth in their performance, Oak Park continued to get better, culminating in a MHSFLL title.
“A lot of the girls that were on my team were some of my really close friends. Just being able to see them develop so quickly, and them falling in love with the same sport that I love so much, it’s a really great feeling. And of course, a championship title, that’s really great to end off the season. It gave the girls lots to talk about. There was lots of excitement,” says Garriock.
“In the last two games, we ended up doing really well. That’s truly because we were having fun, stress free. We were just being ourselves, enjoying each other’s company, and it just brought a great mood to the field.”
The three-team division that also featured Dakota and Sturgeon Heights was met with excitement all across the board.
While the Raiders won the inaugural season, the presence of women’s lacrosse as a whole expanded, and conversations increased. Women’s sixes is expected to grow exponentially over the next number of years in the province.
Oak Park is a great example. Their first practice last week saw 20 people attend, with another six expected.
“So many more girls than we had last year tried out. I’m just super pumped for this upcoming season. Everything is rolling around much faster, people are learning to pick up and pass much faster, just from that development we had last year. It really brought the pace-level up,” noted Garriock.
“It’s a great feeling knowing they had a good time last year. Continuing our sport at the school, continuing female lacrosse, half of the girls we had at our last practice were grades nine and ten, so that’s awesome having a new generation of lacrosse athletes that will be able to carry on the sport once I leave, and all the other girls.”
In the meantime, Oak Park has a title to defend, and you can bet Garriock, one of the faces of her program, will have a large role in making that happen, while continuing to elevate the sport.
“It’s a wonderful feeling being that leader that I wanted to be, and paving that path so that other girls can have more opportunities. I love being on a team, I love that whole energy and vibe. Being able to do that, and spend time with your friends on the field is an even better feeling.”