Tuesday, October 6, 2009

FROM THE COURT TO THE STUDIO: Vermilion grad starts dream through Nike

Allie LaForce has always had a busy life.

At Vermilion high school, she was a three-sport star in basketball, softball and track, along with being involved with other school activities.

She also modeled and won the prestigious Miss Teen U.S.A. title in her first attempt. She went on to represent Ohio in the Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant held in, Louisiana — just five days after her 16th birthday. She was the first delegate from Ohio to make it to the semifinals since 1993, and was crowned Miss Teen U.S.A. in 2005.

Her winnings earned her a one-year modeling contract with Trump Modeling Management and a scholarship to the School for Film and Television in New York City. It also got her a guest appearance in the NBC soap opera "Passions".

LaForce made several appearances throughout the United States — promoting causes such as drug and alcohol awareness — as well as continuing to attend high school at Vermilion, where she earned valedictorian honors.

Her career ambition has always been to be a sports personality on ESPN and decided to attend Ohio University for a broadcast journalism degree.

Since she played sports her whole life, she decided to try to walk-on the basketball team at OU, and made the team as a non-scholarship player.

"I didn't know what to expect at all," said LaForce, who is now a sophomore. "It was so unreal. When I did make the team, I called my family in disbelief. The team was so welcoming, even though they called me Miss America for a month."

Although she has a love for basketball, she knew she needed to set her priorities and go back to concentrating on her broadcast dreams.

After playing eight games as a walk-on freshman, she hung up the sneakers to focus on what she wants to do with her career.

"Ohio U is a really great journalism school," LaForce said. "I was missing out on a lot of opportunities because Division I basketball was so time consuming. I love the game so much, but I need to take advantage of the things they have to offer here so I can put together an impressive reel. It was a really tough decision to not play basketball anymore. Since I was a walk-on, I don't have a scholarship so I had to make a decision based on what I want to get out of my career here."

This past summer, she served as a color commentator and play-by-play announcer for the Southern Ohio Copperheads, a baseball team from the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, who play their games at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens. She was able to travel with the team and would do three innings of play-by-play and four innings of color commentary during the season.

"I certainly learned a lot doing the internship there," LaForce said. "It was fun to travel and learn more about the sport. It was exciting. This is the way my life has always been. If I ever have an open-time slot, I'm so anxious to fill it with something, because there are just too many great things to take advantage of here at OU."

Still chasing her dream of big-lights, such as ESPN, LaForce was recently chosen by Nike out of 200 applicants nationwide after submitting a video for a Nike Field Reporter contest. Her and a college friend put together a three-minute video convincing Nike why she would make a good sideline reporter.

Following an interview that came with being one of the five finalists, LaForce took a position as a field correspondent, where she is required to travel, write and do interviews for Nike in the midwest region.

Her first assignment for Nike was called "Point guard college", an intense basketball camp with point guards from other Division I schools. She was assigned to go to camp as an Ohio University point guard and blog about her boot camp-like experience there.

She then flew out to Portland, Oregon for her next project, which was for a winter clothing line where she modeled different outfits for the Nike website, under shop-by-outfit.

"I'm so used to being busy, that's been the story of my life and I love it so much," LaForce said. "I think each year I get less and less stressed out. Now that I found my groove and I have my priorities straight, I have an idea what the next couple years are going to look like. It's less stressful for me."

She is also currently doing an Emmy-winning high school football show called "Grid Iron Glory" where she does a wrap-up, highlight-reel type of show where she serves as a reporter. She is also the co-producer of the "Bobcat Blitz", the Ohio U Coaches show that airs on local cable television.

When basketball season begins, she will serve as the color analyst for the 'Cats' women's basketball radio broadcasts.

She credits her parents, Wade and Lesa LaForce (also a former Miss Ohio U.S.A. in 1977) for keeping her humble and keeping the desire to follow her dreams.

"My parents are go-getters," LaForce said. "They are so upbeat. They are always doing new and exciting things. I credit my parents 100 percent. I can't even say enough. They are the reason I've been able to stay grounded and level-headed."

She also credits her aunt Connie Rummell for helping her have success in her athletic career.
Another inspirational force for LaForce is her cousin Blake LaForce, who lost his life earlier this year after a courageous battle with leukemia and the consequences of insurmountable complications.

"He has touched so many peoples lives," LaForce said. "He was such a fighter. He taught me so many things. Every time I start to take something for granted, all I have to do is think about him and think about what he went through. What happened to him really put things in perspective."

In the meanwhile, LaForce loves her busy life and looks forward to her future.

"I'd love to work for ESPN, but I'm not limiting myself," LaForce said. "There are a lot of great sports networks and programs that I would love to be a part of. If I had to pick an ultimate goal, it would be ESPN, being a basketball analyst or commentator. I would even love to do sideline stuff and feature packages for other sports as well.
"There's a certain stereotype that goes along with pageants and pageant girls," LaForce said.

"To be able to say I played Division I basketball helps balance that stereotype. Especially getting into sports broadcasting, I think it gives me more credibility."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home