Virginia's best field hockey players will be in Charlottesville this weekend for the Subway Commonwealth Games, also known as the "Olympics" of Virginia.
The field hockey portion of the games will be played on the blue turf at the University of Virginia and features four different age groups (U14, U16, U19, Adult) of teams from all over the Commonwealth.
One of the areas represented is the Blue Ridge region, featuring many local schools, including Charlottesville, Western Albemarle, Albemarle, Monticello and Louisa County, just to name a few.
Lindsay Larson is the head coach for the Blue Ridge teams for the second straight year. The Charlottesville High coach is thankful the games will be closer to home this year.
"Oh I think it's fantastic to have (the games) here at UVa because our turnout (compared to last year) has been a complete 180," Larson explained. "Last year we got maybe two schools represented, this year we have almost every high school in the area represented and in decent numbers too, almost to the point where I had to start turning away girls because we had so many come out."
As the coach at CHS, Larson is familiar with many of the girls she'll be working with. They're usually on the opposite team, but this weekend, they'll be on her side.
"I enjoy it because I get to know more of the girls in the area and it's nice to get to know not just girls at Charlottesville but girls at Albemarle, Western and Louisa," she explained.
One of Larson's players at Charlottesville is Region II Player of the Year Kendall Ballard. The rising junior has Commonwealth Games experience and will be one of Larson's go-to players on the U16 Blue Ridge team.
"I think it's great," Ballard said of the games being in her backyard. "It really helps with not having to travel so far and it also helps get a lot of the girls in the area more interested."
"Especially since in previous years I was the only one from CHS and now we have multiple girls from my team represent us."
Larson, meanwhile, lights up when she thinks of all the talent she'll have to work with on the teams.
"I get so excited because I feel like I can do all kinds of combinations and it's kind of nice because I get to put girls in different positions than what they're used to."