Waterloo Region Record

Locals strike lacrosse gold at national tournament

- MARK BRYSON Waterloo Region Record

They travelled across the country to represent Ontario and returned to their home province as national champions.

Kyler Francis and Markus Madill, both 14, struck gold over the weekend at the Canadian Lacrosse Associatio­n championsh­ip in Coquitlam, B.C.

Francis scored twice in the gold-medal game and led his team in scoring at the sevengame tournament with 14 goals and six assists. A soon-to-be Grade 9 student at KCI, he was selected as the most valuable player of the bantam (2005-06) final.

“It was a great experience for me ... to be able to say I’ve won a national championsh­ip is really something,” Francis, a Waterloo resident, said on Monday. “I put everything I could into the whole tournament and it felt really good to win and get the finals MVP out of it.”

The win was actually Francis’ second national lacrosse championsh­ip, having captured gold with the Ontario peewee team in 2017.

Madill, a goaltender from Kitchener, started three games and played in five, sharing duties with Ethan Robertson of Guelph.

The future Cameron Heights student made the Ontario squad in his fourth attempt and offered a similar take to Francis on what it meant to strike gold. “It was just awesome, knowing this is the best of the best and I’m part of that,” he said. “I was really determined to make the team this year, and it’s awesome that I did.”

Making the squad is a story in itself, something of a humorous one.

Madill tried out for the camp in May and learned his fate a month later, but not until Ontario head coach John Rosa made him sweat it out for a few seconds.

“The head coach, he’s like ‘thank you for coming out, you showed us a lot of good stuff, however ...’ The moment he said ‘however,’ I thought, ‘oh no, this is going downhill,’” recalled Madill.

“But then he was like, ‘however, you’ve shown us enough good stuff that we’re offering you a spot on the team.’ In my head, I was like ‘holy crap.’”

Francis and Madill have been teammates for the past seven years and played together this summer for the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves squad that won the

Barry Burman Summer Shootout in Orangevill­e. The Braves, who finished 10th in Ontario, were underdogs going in to the Burman tournament but received outstandin­g goaltendin­g from Madill in their unexpected win.

Braves head coach Steve MacGregor, an assistant coach on the Ontario team, offers high praise for both players.

“Kyler is an amazing player ... he is lightning fast and has amazing stick skills,” said McGregor. “Markus is cool as a cucumber ... doesn’t get rattled.

Francis competes for the Kitchener Waterloo Predators Volleyball Club when he’s not piling up the points.

Madill dabbled in soccer, hockey and volleyball before going all in on lacrosse.

Ontario went 6-0-1 in the six-team national championsh­ip that included a First Nations entry and teams from Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchew­an.

The champions outscored their opponents 85-11.

 ?? PETER LEE WATERLOO REGION RECORD ?? Kyler Francis, left, and Markus Madill won gold medals with Ontario’s squad at the national bantam lacrosse championsh­ip.
PETER LEE WATERLOO REGION RECORD Kyler Francis, left, and Markus Madill won gold medals with Ontario’s squad at the national bantam lacrosse championsh­ip.

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