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Airdrie field lacrosse player commits to NCAA program in Alabama

Kiara Crawford is Alabama-bound.
W.H. Croxford student-athlete Kiara Crawford (right) will play for the University of Montevallo Falcons in Alabama next year.

Kiara Crawford is Alabama-bound. 

The 17-year-old field lacrosse player from Airdrie is excited to take the next step in her athletic career, after signing a letter of intent at the end of January to attend the University of Montevallo in Alabama next fall. The university boasts an NCAA Division 2 field lacrosse program.

The W.H. Croxford High School senior said she's excited to take her game to the next level and become a member of the University of Montevallo Falcons.

“I’m just really excited to see how far the team can go,” she said. 

The Airdrie native said the opportunity to commit to the University of Montevallo emerged last year, after her Elev8 coach connected her with the Falcons head coach, Adrianna Piontek, who was impressed by Crawford's game footage. 

“From there, we just had a phone call,” Crawford said. “I was able to Zoom call with some of the players and coaches down there.” 

Piontek said she first heard about Crawford from the Airdrie player's Calgary coach. According to Piontek, Crawford's character is what stuck out to her upon talking to her for the first time.

“The first time we spoke over the phone, I could tell she was such a kind person with a lot of drive to improve at her sport,” Piontek said in an email. “As a coach, those are the intangible things we are always looking for in student-athletes. 

Crawford said she has played field lacrosse for the last four years, and plays for the Elev8 field lacrosse club in Calgary. She said she likes the competitive nature of the sport, adding she enjoys how there are many ways to continue playing lacrosse into adulthood.

In addition, she said she likes making connections with her teammates and coaches.

“It’s really cool to be around a group of other girls who are just out there to win and get better,” she said. “I also really like how there’s somewhere you can go with it. You can play college lacrosse, and they’re starting a kind-of professional league.

“The game is definitely going somewhere, which is exciting to watch.” 

Playing in defence, Crawford said her strongest attributes as a lacrosse player are her ability to keep a cool head in the midst of a high-intensity situation.

“Mentally, I’m able to focus in and really compete, whether we’re winning or losing,” she said. “I’m just really driven to win and get better.

“In lacrosse specifically, I love being able to read and anticipate plays – the mental aspect of the sport keeps it interesting and competitive.”

Piontek added that Crawford works hard for every ball and has a solid defensive foundation. She also touted Crawford's work ethic as a strong attribute.

“That fire to constantly wanting to get better is contagious and is something I think will ripple through our team immediately,” she said.

A dual-sport athlete who also plays ringette for the Airdrie Sting U19A team in the wintertime, Crawford said she is grateful to the local communities of both sports who have helped her get to where she is today.

“I’m just really grateful to my lacrosse community and my ringette community,” she said. “They’ve both been very supportive and it’s cool to see the ringette community has been [so supportive], considering this opportunity is in a different sport.” 

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