By Colin Orsak
Isiah Moran-Weekes is on track to become a true lacrosse star as he prepares to graduate high school and move on to the NCAA next year.
This past year, like everyone else, Moran-Weekes has faced significant obstacles as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic washed away all hopes for regular lacrosse competition. The 2020 season would have been his first chance to play at the junior level before his season was cancelled.
“[I missed out on] being able to play against older players since I’ve only played against players a year older than me and a year younger than me my whole life,” notes Moran-Weekes, who was also a ‘AAA’ hockey defenceman before focusing on lacrosse full-time at age 16.
Chosen second overall in the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League draft by the Mimico Mountaineers, Moran-Weekes hopes to play junior this year, but as of now, the whole lacrosse season is still up in the air.
Despite the lack of organized competition, the Nepean Knights minor lacrosse product has not stopped working. Moran-Weekes left John McCrae Secondary School in Ottawa to attend the Hill Academy, a prep school in Caledon, Ont.
The decision to move away for his Grade 12 year was not easy, but Moran-Weekes believes it was worth it to pursue lacrosse at a higher level and learn the game from more coaches with significant professional lacrosse experience.
“I missed out graduating with my friends so it was kind of tough, but I had to make the decision to go away,” he indicates.
Though Hill Academy’s usual competition in the U.S. was also cancelled, Moran-Weekes has still been able to train for lacrosse with modified practices and workouts.
Off-season training at the Elite Performance Academy in Kanata has also helped Moran-Weekes fill the void that COVID-19 has created. But nothing can replace competition, he says.
“It’s been tough this year, that’s for sure, but with the ability to go away next year to the United States to play university, I’ve really been looking forward to that,” explains the future High Point University student-athlete. “And knowing that there is going to be a season there, it’s made everything look better.”
The North Carolina school is a top-20-ranked NCAA lacrosse school and the reigning Division 1 Southern Conference champions.
“I really found with the coaches there, it was like a family, the whole team was like a family and I really like that,” highlights the left-handed offensive dynamo who led Team Ontario in scoring en route to a 2019 Midget national title.
While a roster spot is never guaranteed, Moran-Weekes is confident he will be able to contribute in his freshman year.
“I definitely want to be one of the guys who really produces for the team,” underlines Moran-Weekes, whose longer-term goals include playing professionally in the National Lacrosse League for box lacrosse and the Premiere Lacrosse League for field lacrosse.