Fox 8 News sports reporter, 23
Decked out in a long-sleeved Ohio University T-shirt, Allie LaForce preps for a quick after-work run. She ties her long, blonde hair back into a ponytail and stretches in front of her Lakewood home before taking off on her regular route down Madison Avenue.
Just 30 minutes ago, LaForce was on TV weighing in on another controversy involving Browns running back Peyton Hillis. This time, he failed to show at an October fundraiser for the Cleveland Boys & Girls Club. You can tell she's still miffed about the Hillis snafu. "I don't understand how you can string together four weeks of a new problem each week and how you miss scheduled events when you have two agents," she says.
The opinionated 23-year-old already has a vast knowledge of sports and its athletes on and off the field. As a senior at Ohio University studying broadcast journalism, she started hosting Bobcat Blitz, the OU football coach's show that aired on WOUB, the Athens-based NPR/PBS affiliate.
"I did sidelines for the high school championships, and I did MAC football and basketball," LaForce says of her assignments while in college. "My senior year, I was driving all over the place to all these MAC schools to cover the playoffs."
For her Fox 8 on-air debut this past May, LaForce scored an interview with Browns star Josh Cribbs while he was training during the off-season. She asked the return specialist and wide receiver about the Browns' draft picks and his hopes for a successful season while he tried to catch his breath between running on the treadmill and lifting weights. "The most difficult thing was getting a hold of him since the NFL was in lockout," says LaForce. "You couldn't go through his PR people. I sent him several messages on Twitter to set the interview up."
LaForce also hosts Friday Night Touchdown, Fox 8's popular program that provides live coverage of high school football games throughout Northeast Ohio. That she's taken to sports journalism shouldn't come as a surprise when you look at her resume.
"I grew up playing a lot of sports — softball, basketball, volleyball and track. My schedule was packed with sports," says LaForce.
For a brief period, her schedule was also filled with beauty pageants. After entering Miss Ohio Teen USA on a whim, she surprised herself by winning. Then, she went on to nationals and was crowned Miss Teen USA in 2005. She spent a year in New York after garnering a contract with Trump Modeling Management, and she even had a guest spot on the NBC soap opera Passions.
"I met lots of successful people and got to hear their stories," she says of that time. "I remember meeting Al Roker, and he was like, 'They always told me that I had the perfect face for radio, and now I'm on TV all the time.' It was interesting hearing him say that people had told him no a lot."
While she's signed a contract at Fox 8 that will keep her in Cleveland for at least a few years, she has set her sights even higher.
"The goal is a national sports network, but I wouldn't take a job that wouldn't move me in a forward direction," she says. "If there's an opportunity to get better, I'm going to take it."
Most Interesting ... Female Sports Reporters
LaForce shares three with us.