In her time at Lindsay Thurber, Kelsey Lalor couldn’t pick just one sport to excel at.
Leader of the Raiders basketball teams in her Grade 12 year the multi-sport athlete is rarely not involved. She’s also a star on the Lindsay Thurber senior girls’ volleyball and competes in track and field, cross country and badminton.
That’s without mentioning her trip to the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto as a baseball player for Team Canada.
The multi-sport success and passion make her the 2015 Red Deer Advocate’s Red Deer female athlete of the year. She is joined by Red Deer College Kings volleyball star Luke Brisbane, the 2015 Red Deer Advocate’s Red Deer male athlete of the year.
Recently, Lalor’s passion for basketball has grown. The 18-year-old wants basketball to be part of her post-secondary life and is currently debating staying in Canada or going to the U.S. to pursue an education and growth in the sport.
“Over the past few years I’ve played on the Lindsay Thurber varsity team and my passion for the game has grown a lot,” said Lalor. “It’s my favourite thing to do now, but I’m still going to continue to play baseball.
“I go to the gym every morning during the season. I feel like being out there on the basketball court, that’s where I’m supposed to be. I have a ton of fun going out and playing.”
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders girls basketball team overcame an early loss at basketball 4A provincials this year to go on a tremendous run and winning the consolation bracket. The team had gone undefeated in league play for the past three seasons.
The 18-year-old, was the starting left fielder for the womens national team at the Pan Am Games. The team won the silver medal at the games.
“To go out and be surrounded by elite athletes was incredible,” said Lalor. “I learned a lot about what they do to prepare for their events and how they carried themselves around the village. It was also neat to see them compete and see their training pay off.”
In 2014, she played for Canada at the women’s world cup. The team lost the bronze medal game. The volleyball team finished fourth at provincials this year.
Lalor points to her parents as the source of much of her passion. From a young age she was at the gym, she said she grew up around baseball and sport culture.
For two straight years, Brisbane was named the Red Deer College Athlete of the Year. An impressive run with the Red Deer Kings volleyball team saw a national title and only one loss this year in league, playoff and national championship play.
The 20-year-old Australian came to Canada to play college sports and get an education. He started playing when he was 12, learning a bit from practicing with his older brother. They both went to a high school that had a strong volleyball program. From there he played in clubs, went to volleyball academies and got involved with the national program.
Brisbane said the national title was two years in the making.
“I don’t think we would have achieved it if we hadn’t got there last year,” said Brisbane. “We didn’t have much experience and we went in not really knowing what had to be done. This year we knew what it would take to get it done.”
During this run, Brisbane was named the MVP of both the Alberta College Athletic Conference tournament and the Canadian College Athletic Association tournament.
In 2015, Brisbane was to the ACAC All-Conference team and CCAA the All-Canadian team. He was also named the ACAC and CCAA volleyball player of the year and the ACAC player of the year for all sports.
“I just go out and practice and play the best I can,” said Brisbane. “One award kind of leads to another.
“I don’t think too much about the individual stuff. We’ve had some great team success. I just want to have another successful year like we had this year. We have a good chunk of our guys coming back and I’m looking forward to that.”
He added to his trophy case this year, repeating as the ACAC player of the year for all sports.
In 2015, he led the Kings to a second place finish in the ACAC. The team went on to compete at nationals that year.
Brisbane has three years left of eligibility to play with the Kings and the business student is staying in Red Deer for at least the next season.
l Other people who were considered included: Golfer Kate Griffiths, ranked second in the CCAA and a CCAA All-Canadian in 2015; Lauren Good, RDC Queens soccer keeper, was an ACAC All-Conference and CCAA All-Canadian selection; and Haydn Fleury, Red Deer Rebels defenceman, member of the 2016 Canada World Junior Hockey team and finished the 2015-16 Western Hockey League season with 12 goals and 29 assists.