Where are they now? – Cecile, Rancourt and Mazzella

by Randy Pascal | November 11, 2013

Paul Cecile

College Notre-Dame graduate Paul Cecile is now playing football with the Waterloo Warriors. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Paul Cecile 

Paul Cecile was not the biggest name in the local high school football ranks recently. However, he has been one of the few to make a significant impact with his university team.

The College Notre-Dame graduate is in his third year with the Waterloo Warriors, recording 18 receptions in 2012, good for 381 yards and four touchdowns, which included recognition as CIS Athlete of the Week.

Not bad, considering he really hadn’t decided what position he was even trying out for some three years ago when he arrived at training camp. “I showed up and had a white (offence) jersey in my locker and that’s what I have been playing ever since,” he said.

Fortunately, Cecile had garnered experience on both sides of the ball playing with the Alouettes and Sudbury Gladiators.

“I remember watching an OUA game on TV when I was in high school and thinking that I wanted to play at that level,” Cecile said. “It’s a lot faster in person.”

Like most who move on to post-secondary teams, Cecile had to bide his time. “I’ve gotten a little quicker over the past year, so they use me to stretch the field. I prefer getting short balls and trying to make a play after the ball is in my hands.”

Coming into a program that was still feeling the effects of the steroid scandal of 2010, Cecile decided to stick with it. “I decided I had committed to the Warriors before any of that happened. I knew it would be a struggle, but if it wasn’t hard, it wasn’t worth doing.”


College Notre-Dame graduate Danielle Rancourt is in her final season with the University of Vermont Catamounts. PHOTO SUPPLIED 

Danielle Rancourt

Almost all post-secondary athletes experience some form of change during their careers. For Danielle Rancourt, that meant shifting to a completely different position. Now entering her fourth and final year with the University of Vermont Catamounts, Rancourt is feeling very much at home.

“I was recruited as a defenceman and then I got switched to forward in my freshman year,” the College Notre-Dame graduate said.

By year two, she was splitting time up front and at the back end. “I was that player that could go anywhere.”
The arrival of a new coach one year ago brought with it a full-time commitment to keep Rancourt as a winger, with startling results. She jumped from just one goal scored in her NCAA career to six in 2012-2013.

Skill development sessions with the coaching staff allowed Rancourt to finetune a skill-set she had been able to ignore most of her life. All of which sets the table for an exciting culmination to her time at UVM. “I want to be part of UVM’s first playoff win and I want to hit double digits in goals.”

Beyond her growth on the ice, Rancourt has also emerged as a young woman with a social conscience, spearheading the “Pack the Gut” fundraiser this November.

“We’re attempting to sellout Gutterson Fieldhouse for thefirst time in program history. Our goals are to fill all 4,007 seats, win the game and raise as much money as we can for Meals on Wheels.”

Veronica Mazzella

Lockerby graduate Veronica Mazzella is a member of the Carleton Ravens soccer team and also played for Team Canada at the 2013 FISU Games in Russia. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Veronica Mazzella

Entering her third year with the Carleton Ravens women’s soccer team this fall, Veronica Mazzella will do so with a world of experience. The Sudbury midfielder cracked the Canadian team roster that attended the 2013 FISU Games in Russia earlier this year.

After struggling somewhat in her rookie season with the Ravens, Mazzella used a summer away from soccer as the foundation for an outstanding sophomore year in 2012, earning second team OUA all-star status.

“I’ve always been a very skillful player, and you can always continue to work on skill,” the Lockerby Composite graduate said. “But as you get older, it often comes down to having the confidence in your ability to play. You start to trust yourself.”

By the time she hit the Team Canada tryouts, Mazzella knew exactly the role she could play within the group that assembled the top university talent from across the country.

“I’m good at controlling the center mid,” she said. “My job was to receive the ball from the center-back and defenders, and play the ball quickly to strikers and attacking mids.”

While the tournament did not produce the results that Mazzella and others would have hoped, it did lead to the signing of the young northern pitch star with the Ottawa Fury of the USL (United Soccer League).

“I was more proud of that at the end of the day,” Mazzella said. “But without Carleton helping to open that FISU door, I would have never gotten that opportunity.”

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