While most students spend the summer before college working hard in order to save money for books, Liz Downs is training for an international competition as a member of a team favored to win. As one of the newest alumnae of St. Stephens & St. Agnes, Downs is preparing do something she has been working towards for most of her life.
Downs has been chosen to represent her school as a member of the U.S. U-19 national womens lacrosse team. The U.S. team is the two-time reigning International Federation of Womens Lacrosse Association World Champions. Downs is proud of her accomplishment but admits, It [being on the team] didnt hit me until people started asking me for my autograph.
Downs is also proud to represent her school as one of two girls from SSSA on the team. While seven Saints players were invited to begin the try-out process, only Downs and Mia Hurrin made it to the final roster of 18.
The process began last year with invitations to regional camps. While at these camps players were evaluated based on overall talent and not just their position. The top players from the regional camps went to the National Tournament. While at this tournament, players were once again evaluated on their overall talent and ability to work together.
This long process of evaluation could have taken its toll on any players confidence but because Downs has played on so many teams, she said the stress did not affect her as much as the others trying out. Downs has played for the Saints since she was old enough to play competitively and has also played on area all-star teams.
It is an opportunity of a lifetime and it happened to come when I was the perfect age to play. I never thought about not trying out. The team requires that the athletes are under 19 and have never played in college prior to the World Championships. Since the game only happens every four years, this year was Downs last opportunity to play.
More than the prestige, Downs is excited about being a part of a great team of girls from all over the country. The team has already had training camps and will compete in the 2007 IFWLA World Championships August 4-12, in Ontario, Canada.
Almost as soon as she gets back it will be time to start school again. Downs plans to attend the University of Virginia and play for the Cavalier team that won the NCAA Lacrosse Championships in 2004 and were runners-up in this years tournament.