The OFSAA trophy Ally Haggart won for finishing atop Level II snowboarding is more than just a golden reward, it’s a testament to hard work paying off.
But not for her sake, more for her fellow students at Lawrence Park, as the grade 11 student has been credited with rebuilding the snowboard team.
At the beginning of the school year, Haggart took a go at restarting a team for the sport she loves so much.
In the process she recruited teacher Ana Djuricic to be the faculty rep. Mother Katherine Kowal-Haggart also came aboard in a coaching capacity.
Djuricic says she joined as faculty rep because she admired Haggart’s initiative.
“She’s a really talented and passionate snowboarder and I was more than happy to do so,” Djuricic said.
Countless lunch hours were spent filling out paperwork as both teacher and student sought the services of a bus to transport the small squad to Mount St. Louis for a practice run and competition.
“There was a lot of organizational stuff we had to do and without Ally, it would have been impossible to get through all that,” Djuricic said.
But a driving force for Haggart was not competition, but family. A triplet, she sought out help from sister Samantha, a student and snowboarder at Northern.
“What didn’t I go through to get a team?” Ally says, with a laugh. “My sister at Northern has a team and I noticed how much fun she was having with her team and she went to OFSAA last year.
“I saw how it worked and I thought, ‘Wow, I’d really like my school to have a team to compete in this’.”
The Red Knights also had a limited number of snowboarders so it made sense for the schools to join resources. With approval from LP’s administration, two drylands a week — led by Ally — kept the squad ready for action.
Admittedly for Haggart the role of coach-captain-manager was daunting.
“I’ve never really had this big of a role in leadership before,” she said. “It was kind of scary at first.
“All of the kids after the first or second meeting, if they had any questions about snowboarding I was the person to talk to,” she added. “I got more confident definitely as I got to know the kids.”
Even with a dislocated shoulder, a second place finish at citys, and drawing the last bib during OFSAA, Ally’s grades did not slip during the season.
“My teachers kind of joked with me that I was kind of a part-time student,” she said.
Instead, all of her efforts were rewarded with the two-foot tall trophy she claimed March 4 at Camp Fortune in Quebec.
Panthers are known for their affinity of packed powder. A snowboard crew only augments that interest.
“I’m for sure hoping to keep it going and hopefully I’ll have a successor so when I graduate it will continue to be a part of Lawrence (Park),” Haggart said.
Djuricic agreed but added Haggart’s efforts are not to be forgotten.
“She’s really brilliant academically and to see kids like that who can balance so well the academic pressure and to be able to run a team is huge dedication,” Djuricic said. “I think the team has really established a great reputation this year and that will make it grow next year.”
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