By Keaton Hills
Maddy Lamothe is always on the move. Frequent destinations for the Winchester, ON resident are school in Russell, volleyball practice in Ottawa and track-and-field meets all over Eastern Ontario.
There is a definite sports theme to all this running around, though one of her biggest recent races was trying to make it for part of her high school prom right after running the senior girls’ 400 metres at the OFSAA east regional track and field championships.
The only senior girl from St. Thomas Aquinas to reach the east regionals, Lamothe collected a pile of awards for her efforts come season’s end – MVP for senior girls’ volleyball, track and cross-country running, plus senior girls’ athlete of the year. And her biggest prize is earning the chance to play university volleyball for the Nipissing Lakers next fall.
“They have a really great volleyball program, the team was really supportive and I really loved the coach,” Lamothe says of the Lakers’ Marc LaRochelle, who grew up in a town the same size as Winchester in Blind River. “He was really interactive with me and really seemed like he cared.”
Lamothe will be joining her older sister in the university volleyball ranks. Kate, who was a leader for Team Ontario at the Canada Games last summer, recently completed her second year as an opposite hitter for the Thompson River University Wolfpack in Kamloops, B.C.
“We both started at the same time and it was instantly a connection for both of us to the sport,” Lamothe recounts. “We’d go to practice together and we’d practice on our front lawn and always sign up for the same activities, so that would help because she would also be motivation for me and would understand all the stuff that we’re going through with the sport.
“She would talk about it a lot and I would get reps with her too because she’s a hitter so I could just set to her and she would hit.”
Lamothe has been playing with the Ottawa Maverick Volleyball Club since she was 11 years old, making the trek in to the city to train 3-4 times each week for the past seven years. There have been many highlights along the way, Lamothe notes, but the biggest reward came this season when her Mavs won a provincial bronze medal and finished fifth at the nationals.
In the announcement of her signing, the Nipissing Lakers called Lamothe a “consistent and stabilizing recruit” who works hard offensively and defensively – a tag she’ll happily wear.
“People have told me that I’ve been the rock on the team,” Lamothe notes. “Throughout the years on my team, I’ve always been someone who people look to because I’ve been known to be calm on the court and just not get frazzled or not get upset when we’re losing by a bit.”
She always thrives in high-pressure moments, like serving the last point in the deciding set.
“It’s a really crucial time because you don’t want to miss, but I was able to stay calm and I don’t really miss very often on those serves,” Lamothe adds. “I’m a setter too and you always trust your setter to get the ball where you want it to go especially in those hard times.”
It hasn’t always been easy for Lamothe to manage her academic and athletic workload. She says that can be difficult on occasion and there have been times when she hasn’t been able to get enough sleep, although having a spare in Grade 12 helped. The key, adds the future environmental biology and technology student, is finding the right balance, knowing when to focus and when to sacrifice certain things – like the start of prom.
Despite running around all over, there’s no place quite like home, and that’s how Lamothe felt when she visited Nipissing and North Bay.
“The school is a good school for me. It’s small, it’s in the country and it’s a really good environment,” highlights Lamothe, who will join a Lakers team that featured three more players from Ottawa last season – senior setter Rebecca Illingworth, middle Ramanda Bell and OUA rookie of the year Oceane Raymond-Leduc.
“I am looking to develop a strong bond with teammates and making a difference on the team,” she indicates. “I’m looking to become a better athlete overall and continue to challenge myself.”
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