Georgia Alexander, forward with the Oak Bay High senior girls team that went undefeated through the regular season, caps that success with a national training camp in Ontario.
The Grade 11 student is also a student in the Canadian Sport School, which means half-days Monday through Thursday at Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence where they learn to lift weights, about body awareness and participate in a variety of seminars on recovery, nutrition and mental health. It’s an inspiring place, where high-schoolers can learn and work alongside the likes of Rowing Canada and Rugby Canada athletes.
“It’s really intimidating, but really cool,” the 16-year-old said.
As many do, Georgia embarked on the sport in Grade 6 at Central Middle School with mom Tracey Cook (former University of Alberta player) as a coach.
“She’s a really good coach,” Georgia said. “I loved it in middle school. I loved the camps, we played every recess…”
When it came time for the Fairfield teen to head for high school, she’d heard of Oak Bay High’s program and coaching so it “seemed like a good thing to do.”
Oak Bay High headed into provincials last week with a perfect season and seeded No. 1. They finished the tournament in fifth.
Despite, or perhaps indicative of, that dominance, teammates are Georgia’s favourite part of the sport.
“I’m a competitive person, but I just love spending time with my team,” she said.
Georgia also finds coach Rob Kinnear’s approach a key to winning and enjoying the sport.
“I credit a lot of my recent successes to him,” she said. “He’s really smart, he knows the game, he knows how to motivate and he’s positive all the time. He finds the balance really well between training and travelling.”
Team travel took her to provincials last week in Langley. Individual travel will have Georgia among 56 athletes from across Canada sweating it out at the women’s national age-group assessment camp at Humber College and University of Toronto Mississauga from March 24 to 30.
“We look forward bringing this group of new and returning nationally identified athletes into our camp, to see them compete and provide direction on their individual performance plans,” said Denise Dignard, director of women’s high performance. “As we kick-off a new Olympic quadrennial this summer, continued assessment and development of our athletes at all levels is key in moving Canada forward on the international scale.”
The purpose of this camp is to provide a national training environment with international focus to top identified athletes in a variety of age-groups and help identify athletes to be invited to the U16 and U19 national team programs.
“I’m very fortunate I even made it this far,” Georgia said. “I just want to go and improve as much as I can. It’s adventure. It’s an experience. I just want to have a gas.”
Georgia has played provincially as young as Grade 8 during the BC Summer Games. Last year she was a member of the U17 team and does hope to earn a spot on the provincial team again with an eye on the Canada Summer Games.
Georgia admits it would be great if basketball paid for post-secondary, but for now she’s just enjoying today.
“I just love it right now. I’m just kind of trying to be present.”