Samantha McIlwrick is gearing up for a busy field hockey season in 2016.
The Port Moody secondary alum is one of 18 players selected to represent Canada with the under-21 women’s national team at the Junior Women’s Pan American Championships — a 2016 Junior World Cup qualifier.
McIllwrick, a 19-year-old from Coquitlam, has spent the last two seasons in the NCAA with the Div. I Cornell University team, where the defender has played 33 games. During her time with the Big Red, she has amassed six goals and four assists.
This year will not be the first time that McIllwrick has played on the international stage.
Identified a handful of years ago by the national program, she was the youngest player named to the under-21 Canadian roster in 2013, and four years ago was in uniform when Canada’s under-17 team played the U.S. in a pair of exhibition tests.
McIllwrick was named female high school athlete of the year in 2014 when she led the Port Moody blues to a provincial tournament appearance.
According to Field Hockey Canada, this year’s national team will feature a mix of athletes from across the country.
McIlwrick will join several players with international experience, including Priya Randhawa of Surrey, Lauren Logush of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Katarina Angus of West Vacnouver.
The team is coming off a seven-game test series in Chile, during which time they went 3-4, in preparation for the cup qualifier in March, which will take place in Trinidad and Tobago.
Canada will play in Pool B at the Pan Ams, going up against squads from Bermuda, Mexico, host Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Venezuela. Each team will be played once, with the top four teams in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals.
Should the national team be successful, they will move on to the Junior Women’s World Cup, which will take place in November.