Jacob Laquerre was doubly honoured, representing the College Notre-Dame Alouettes recently at the 2020 OFSAA Wrestling Championships in Sault Ste Marie.
Not only was Laquerre the only SDSSAA athlete to podium (top six), placing fifth in the 83 kg weight class, but he was also recognized as the Most Sportsmanlike Wrestler of the entire meet.
After dropping a second round match to Brendan Kwarayi (Central Catholic), Laquerre bounced back to eliminate Ethan Froggett (Medway), Redden Jacklin (St Mother Theresa), Arthur Rahmanov (Newtonbrook), Gaven Smith (Superior Heights) and Temituoyo Ugborogho (St Mary's) in finishing fifth, not at all bad for a young man who did not win a single match in his first two OFSAA appearances in 2018 and 2019.
"During the summer (of 2019), I started training with Troop MMA," he explained. "It really improved my wrestling. Wrestling is both a mental game, and a physical game, and Troop MMA really helped my mental game."
"I'm just a much better wrestler," Laquerre added. "They refined my moves. With some stuff, I un-learned it and re-learned it."
With six victories to his credit, Laquerre was head and shoulder the winningest local in the Sault, with Ryan Marcotte of Lasalle (64 kg) next in line with a record of 3-2, overcoming Vladimir Korol (Newtonbrook), Ayden Allin (Bayside) and Mason Stringer (Regiopolis).
Battling their way to a .500 record of 2-2 were Andrew Amalfitano (Sudbury Secondary - 130 kg), Kamilya Myers (St Charles College - 57.5 kg), Zoe Dufresne-Chartrand (Horizon - 64 kg) and Annabelle Newbury (Lasalle - 115 kg).
Avoiding the two and out by emerging triumphant in at least one bout were Cengiz Colgecen (Lasalle - 47.5 kg), Nicholas Bouchard (CND - 51 kg), Jesse Legault (Confederation - 54 kg), Miguel Pitre (Horizon - 77 kg), Will Cummings (Lo-Ellen - 130 kg), Mia Chartrand (Lasalle - 41 kg) and Ella Train (Confederation - 67.5 kg).
Rounding out the lengthy list of Sudbury wrestlers who qualified for OFSAA competition were Jacob Gill (Lasalle - 51 kg), Brett Mercier (Champlain - 57.5 kg), Nate Rondell (Confederation - 57.5 kg), Luciano Gianfrancesco (St Charles - 64 kg), Matthew Guerra (St Benedict - 67.5 kg), Daniel Paulin-Poitras (Lasalle - 89 kg), Allie Weiler (Marymount - 54 kg) and Gabrielle Roy (Horizon - 61 kg).