Where are they now? – Larocque, Collard and MacLean

by Randy Pascal | September 3, 2014

Miquel Larocque

Lockerby grad Miquel Larocque is entering his second season at Palm Beach Atlantic University. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Miquel Larocque

Miquel Larocque’s pursuit of his golfing dreams has not always kept him along a straight and narrow fairway. Yet as he prepares for his second season at Palm Beach Atlantic University, the Lockerby grad has honed in on his target.

After two years at Collège Boréal, the 21-year-old Hanmer native decided to pursue golf south of the border. A victory in the Golf Town National Amateur Series championship in Miami opened the door to a brief stint at Oakland City University in Indiana last fall.

The fit wasn’t quite right, so Larocque made a second NCAA stop, transferring to Palm Beach last January.

Despite four top 10 finishes, Larocque endured some initial challenges as a freshman.

“The first thing my coach did in Florida was to change everything in my swing,” he said. “As far as golf goes, it was probably the most frustrating month of my life.”

Still, Larocque maintained faith in the teachings of coach and long-time PGA professional Craig Watson.

Along with some top-end results with the PBA Sailfish, Larocque also qualified for the championship round of the Idylwylde Invitational, shooting an even par 72.

With phase one behind him, Larocque looks to build in his final two years in Florida.

“My goals would be to win a college event, and to finish a tournament sub-par,” he said. “I’ve been close a couple of times.”

Nicole Collard

Lasalle alumna Nicole Collard is heading into her third year with the Guelph Gryphons women’s volleyball team. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Nicole Collard

As Lasalle alumna Nicole Collard readies herself for her third year with the Guelph Gryphons women’s volleyball team, she does so from a drastically different perspective than when she arrived in the fall of 2012.

“My level of competitiveness had to go up a thousand levels, whereas here (in Sudbury), I was among the more elite athletes.”

Collard shone within the ranks of the SDSSAA, garnering Player of the Year honours in back-to-back seasons with the Northern Chill — the only athlete to achieve the feat in the nine-year history of the club.

Unfortunately, that did little to prepare her for the reality of the OUA environment, where virtually every single player at tryouts had been the star on her high school team.

“In my first year, I didn’t play my first game,” Collard said. “The next week … my coach pulled me aside and told me this was my chance to show him I did not want to be on the bench.”

Collard finished that five-set match with 19 points, earning Player of the Game recognition. Although an injury derailed the second half of her freshman season, Collard started every game in year two.

The progress made by Collard and company translated to team success, with the Gryphons moving on to the final four for only the second time in program history. With the entire roster eligible to return in 2014-2015, the Gryphons enter the season as one of the teams to beat.

Alannah MacLean

Lo-Ellen Park’s Alannah MacLean has been honing her skills at Lakehead University and the Cross-Country Canada National Development Centre. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Alannah MacLean

Trying to adapt to yet another coaching change with the Cross-Country Canada National Development Centre, Lo-Ellen Park graduate Alannah MacLean was struggling as she began her third year at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

Placing fourth at the U-23 world trials mid-season, MacLean learned she would not accompany the squad to the international competition, despite the fact it had become standard fare to send the top four. The oversight, in her eyes, changed everything.

“It hurt, but I thought that I’m just going to have to prove them wrong,” MacLean said. “It became a matter of not worrying about team selections … or all of these things I needed to do to be better, but just enjoying what I was doing and bringing it back to the basics.

“(I) started thinking about what makes (me) happy, why I ski in the first place. That’s when the results started to come.”

By the end of the competitive season, MacLean finished second in overall U-23 aggregate, placing behind only Olympian Heidi Widmer in her category.

While much of the breakthrough came courtesy of her own self-assessment, MacLean also turned to a steadying presence to help her through the rough times. “(Walden Cross-Country ski coach) Patti (Kitlar) has been my rock for years and years and years.”

Perspective, it seemed, is everything.

“It really doesn’t matter where I finish … so long as I’m happy doing it.”



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