Every varsity athlete and team puts in countless hours of hard work and dedication throughout the year to become the best they can be. Throughout campus, some sports such as curling see very little recognition for all those long hours. It’s not until the end results do varsity teams like curling get the love they deserve.
For Brock’s Curling program, those countless hours mean everything to the athletes and coaches as it leads to their end goals. For consecutive years the Brock Curling teams have seen impressive final results. Last season, the women earned themselves a silver medal at the OUA championship and the men fell just shy of a bronze medal.
On Feb. 11, Brock Women’s and Men’s Curling programs continue their success in the OUA. Over the course of four days in Guelph the two teams proved consistent winning was one of their end goals. The women would go onto earning their second silver in two years, and the men would regroup to earn a bronze medal.
“For the women’s team to win silver for the second year in a row is very satisfying,” said Murray Etherington, who coached the women last season and has shifted his focus to the men this year. “Coach Ken Sandham (coach of the women’s team this year) did a great job.”
The Women’s team saw two of their athletes graduate after last season, which led to some issues that were quickly resolved. Returning players Joanna Francolini and Terri Weeks would be forced to change positions in favour of incoming athletes Samantha Morris and Lauren Calvert.
For the men, after losing in the semi-finals last year, Etherington said there was some tension and finger pointing, which eventually led to the team not putting up the best performance in the bronze medal game.
“This year with help from Assistant Coach Mike Smith, our goal was to change the culture and bring team unity and support of each other,” said Etherington. “After we lost a close semi-final game [this year], the mood of the curlers was a feeling that we could face any adversity and if we remained composed and played our game good things would come our way.”
The women placed first after round robin play with a 6-1 record, which automatically gave them a bye to the semi-finals. Their most impressive win came against Algoma, as the women won 13-3. They also beat Ryerson, Lakehead, Waterloo, Laurentian and Queen’s. Their lone round robin loss came against Guelph, but the women would get revenge in the semi-finals, defeating the Gryphons 7-1. Eventually the finals saw a rematch from last year, and again Laurier got the better of the Badgers by winning 6-4.
The men finished round robin with a 5-2 record, which started off with a 5-2 win over Carleton. Other wins came against Trent, Algoma, Ryerson and Lakehead. The Badgers lost to Waterloo and Laurier. In the quarterfinals, the men just barely beat Western 4-3, which led them to a semi-final match against Laurier. The men kept it close versus the Golden Hawks, but Laurier would pull out the 6-4 win and go on to winning the OUA Championship. Brock would defeat Queen’s 7-3 in the bronze medal game.
The women and men saw big games out of their Skip position all weekend, which was the main reason that helped lead them to medals. Terri Weeks, a second year Kinesiology student and second year Sport Management student Eric Bradey played Skip for Brock. The Skip position is usually the player that throws the last rock.
Both the women and men have earned themselves a spot at the CIS Championships, which will take place in Kelowna, British Columbia from March 20-23. The winning CIS teams will represent Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
“The outcome goal is always to win a championship, but we focus only on process and performance goals,” said Etherington in terms of the CIS championships. “Our expectations for both Men and Women teams is to make the playoffs. Once we secure a playoff berth we will reassess and go for the gold.”
“In the weeks before CIS we will continue to have regular team meetings and go over game situations that gave us trouble at OUA’s. Then with the help of our Developmental teams we will recreate those situations and see how we can play them out differently and be more successful,” said Calder.
With Laurier’s women and men winning the OUA Championships, they’ll join Brock’s teams in representing the OUA at the CIS Championships. Guelph’s women’s team (who won bronze at OUA) and Waterloo’s men’s team (who won silver at OUA) will also join in representing the OUA.
CIS Curling Championships will take place from March 20 to 23 in Kelwona, British Columbia.