BY SEBASTIAN HUMBERT // APRIL 3, 2012 //
It happened in the 2011 season opener, played in warm Florida weather. Running in from left field to make a play, Caitlin Luquet’s ankle gave in and her knee popped out.
Curry went on to lose that game 9-1. But no one knows what might have been in that contest, or every game thereafter, had Luquet not torn her ACL.
Luquet, from Walnut Creek, Calif., a suburb of San Francisco, comes from a family of athletes for whom sports is life. It wasn’t just her knee and ankle that hurt in having to sit out all of last season.
“It was frustrating for all of us,” says Curry softball coach Bruce Weckworth. “I’d look over and see one of my best players sitting on a bucket, not in the game.”
Although she’s a senior, this is Luquet’s first real season at Curry. She transferred from Regis College, where she helped the women’s basketball team capture its conference championship in 2010 and also starred for the Saints softball team (she was named The Commonwealth Coast Conference rookie of the year in 2009, having hit .406 with four home runs and 21 RBI). After two years and three ankle surgeries at Regis, Luquet opted to transfer to Curry, where the “beautiful campus” and the college’s art major caught her eye.
She also decided to focus solely on softball.
Luquet says the game has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her father, Dennis, is a high school baseball coach back in California, and a “really successful” one at that, says Weckworth. In addition, one of Dennis’s good friends growing up was Kiko Garcia, who now coaches a high school softball team in their town, but in his heyday played in the major leagues for 10 years. Garcia last played in 1985 and was a member of the Baltimore Orioles (the team’s starting shortstop when it won the pennant in 1979), Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.
Those two men made a significant impact on Luquet’s life, she says, and cultivated an ambition that is at least nine years running. “It started in seventh grade. My whole life I had been around my dad. He was always talking about baseball and hitting…and I wanted to play. I told myself, ‘I’m going to make Kiko’s varsity softball team. Finally, my mom said I could play.”
Baseball has long been her father’s greatest passion, “so anything we could do together was great,” says Luquet, who plays left field for Curry. “We just kept hanging out every day, working on my swing, comparing me to MLB players.”
She says she didn’t realize how difficult it would be living and attending college on the East Coast with her family so far away. But Luquet still has her father with her, in that she has adopted his traits as a mentor and second coach to her Curry teammates.
Ultimately, her goal is to “have Bruce’s job,” she jokes. But Luquet says she truly does want to coach softball. And Weckworth thinks she can do it.
“She’s a leader on the team,” he says. “She has the credibility.”
Through the Colonels’ first 14 games this season (10-6 overall), Luquet was batting a team-best .400 with eight RBI and one home run. She also has held up physically, having started in each game, including another season-opener. This time, Luquet went 2-for-4 in a 6-4 defeat to Saint Lawrence University.
“It was an amazing first game,” she says. “Even though we didn’t win, I realized that we have a really good team….It’s really something special.”