There’s no place like home. Montana Romeril can attest to that.

The third-year guard for the St. Mary’s University Lightning returned to Calgary last year after spending the 2012-13 season in Edmonton with the MacEwan University Griffins. And while last year was a success both for Romeril and the Lightning, this season has been truly exceptional. In eight games this season, Romeril has averaged 30.13 points per game — which leads the ACAC — and has led her team to a 7-1 record and to the top of the ACAC South Division standings.

20151016-Womens-Basketball-Trojans-vs-St.-Marys-Lightning-RW-2980-224x300“I knew that after my first year, Calgary was where I wanted and needed to be,” said Romeril, whose 241 points is tops among all Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) scorers. “All of my family is here and it took living in Edmonton to realize that Calgary was home and where I wanted to go to school.”

Montana Romeril at the free-throw line Oct 17th vs SAIT Trojans.
Montana Romeril at the free-throw line Oct 17th vs SAIT Trojans where the Lightning won 72-58.

Returning home to Calgary might have been the easy choice, but in choosing where to continue her education in a city that offers many post-secondary options, Romeril says she opted for St. Mary’s as a temporary choice for a year.

“My sister in-law was the one who actually recommended that I go to St. Mary’s,” she explained “I thought it was going to be a one -year thing and then I would go on to somewhere else like Mount Royal, but obviously that wasn’t the case. I ended up really enjoying my first year here.”

In 2013, Romeril enrolled at St. Mary’s and decided to step back from basketball and focus on school. However, it didn’t take long for her to start missing the game she had been playing since the fifth grade.

As fate would have it, Steve Shoults accepted the role of the Lightning’s new bench boss for the 2014-15 season. Shoults was familiar with Romeril, having coached against her both in his high school coaching days with Lord Beaverbrook High School, and in club basketball with OutWest Basketball Club in Calgary.

“I knew Montana was at St. Mary’s but not playing and didn’t want to see her talent go to waste.” says Shoults. “I also knew what she could bring to this current team we were in the process of building, as well as what a huge asset she would be to the future of this program.”

After taking some time to think about it, the answer was a no-brainer. Being able to play in front of friends and family was a huge draw. Plus, there was the short commute.

“The fact that I only hit one traffic light to get here and that my friends and family also don’t have to drive far to see me play was a big factor in my decision.” says Romeril. “I love being able to play in front of them and having them in the crowd every night supporting me. It makes the game that much more fun.”

With the first half of the season closing out this weekend, St. Mary’s 7-1 record has them ranked No. 14 in the CCAA rankings – a first for the school. Last year, the team made the playoffs for the first time, but were knocked out early after going 0-2 in the tournament. Romeril says this year; they have their sights set on a medal.