Strathmore girls prepare for Alberta Summer Games 0
Jessica Burtnick Multimedia Journalist Crowther Memorial schoolmates and Wildfire teammates, Erin Warrack (left) and Karly Larson, have been selected to represent Zone 2 basketball during the Alberta Summer Games in July.
Basketball not only brought them together, it's also the sport that sets them apart.
Crowther Memorial schoolmates, friends and Wheatland Wildfire teammates, Erin Warrack and Karly Larson, have been selected to represent Zone Two at the 2012 Alberta Summer Games.
"It's pretty exciting," said 15-year-old Warrack. "Basketball is my favourite thing to do."
The games, touted as the province's premier multisport event on its website, will take place from July 26-29 in Lethbridge. The event is expected to provide over 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials, and more than 6,000 spectators, with an Olympic-like experience.
While at the games, food and accommodation are provided, and Warrack and Larson will stay in the Athlete Village with other participants.
Larson, 14-years-old, is excited for the experience and the opportunity to meet other teams.
"Meeting the girls is really cool, and being on a team is just great," she said.
The Zone Two team experience has already begun. Four Sunday practices have taken place to date, and the girls got to play against a South Korean team while it was on tour in the province.
Although the players spoke mostly Korean, basketball was the teams' common language.
"I guess it's a universal thing," smiled Larson.
Larson said she grew up with the sport, on account that both of her parents are coaches. Father, Kyle Larson, is currently head coach of the Wheatland Wildfire U15 girls' basketball team, on which both girls play.
"I've played basketball since I was really little," said Larson. "You have nothing to lose, I guess; my dad encouraged me (to try out).
"It's a good way to be seen."
Warrack, current Wheatland Wildfire team captain, credits her older sister's basketball interests for first introducing her to the sport.
She took part in the JETS basketball program in the fourth grade, and it was there that she met Larson.
Both girls joined BLASTERS basketball the following year, which later became the Wheatland Wildfire basketball team.
The experience was what enticed Warrack to try out for the Zone Two team.
"I love playing basketball," she said.
"It's with a different group of girls I'm not used to playing with, and we're learning about each other and how to play together."
On her own part, Larson said she feels confident about her abilities and those of her new teammates.
"You're always nervous to play, but once you're out there, it's good," said Larson. "You can never be done learning."
Warrack and Larson will attend Strathmore High School in the fall, and they have both expressed an interest in trying out for the high school basketball team.