Brock will be the only university from the OUA to have both their men’s and women’s curling programs head to the U Sports nationals for the second straight year. Last year, the women were able to take home a national bronze, while the men struggled in round robin play.
The teams had an excellent showing at this year’s OUA championships with the men taking home the silver and the women taking the bronze. The team had a winning mindset going into the competition, while head coach Murray Etherington said that both teams had the ultimate goal of moving on to the U Sports championship.
“We would have loved to have won the banners, but I think especially on the women’s side, we seemed to get stronger as the week went on, the men were strong all week,” said Etherington.
The women looked good early on in their semifinal matchup, but eventually fell to Laurentian.
“Maybe [we] didn’t have our best game and that put us in the bronze medal game, but the way they rebounded and really took control of that bronze medal game, there was a real feeling that we were going to win that, and we had to win that,” said Etherington about the women’s team.
This marks the second year in a row that the men’s team has made it to the finals, winning gold last year but falling to Carleton to take home the silver this year.
“The challenge was to get back to U Sports, so both teams were pretty proud to accomplish these goals,” said Etherington.
All the athletes worked together to achieve their medal worthy performances but Etherington praised men’s skip, Sam Steep, and second year student Nick Lemieux. Dan Sawchuk and Doug Thompson who were on the development team last year also had impressive showings.
For the women, incoming athletes Claire Randall showed a lot of positives, and supported veteran Terri Weeks, according to Etherington.
“[Weeks] really stepped up, and I’d say the whole team stepped up,” said Etherington. “Jillian Page is in her third year and Marcia Richardson, they all played great. It was good to see a freshman such as Randall playing with the older players.”
Brock has certainly cemented their place as one of the best curling programs in Ontario, but Etherington would like to go a step further.
“We’ve had a lot of help developing the program over the last 10 years, players, coaches, student strength and conditioning coaches, student sport psychologists. It’s just proof that our program is definitely one of the best in Ontario, and I would have to say Canada, because to get out of Ontario which has 16 universities involved, and for us to be top three two years in a row and three out of the past four years, it just shows the effort that people have put into our program,” Etherington said.
The Badgers took reading week to rest and refocus but they intend to add extra practices to their current schedule returning after the break.
“We’ll be going over all the situations at OUA that we would want to try to rethink but mostly we’ll do a lot of work on game situation and shots and see where we can strengthen our game,” said Etherington.
The Badgers will be traveling to Fredericton, New Brunswick from March 15-19 to participate in the U Sports National Curling Championships where they’ll hope to repeat their OUA success.