Curling claims OUA crown

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Venture into the Wilfrid Laurier Athletics’ offices and one would be greeted not necessarily by a friendly desk agent, but by a large, shiny, metallic trophy gracing the front desk of the station at the Athletic Complex.

Sitting atop the white and green Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) banner draped across the desk, the cup belongs to Laurier’s first and (so far) only provincial title won in 2012 — women’s curling.

With a decisive 8-4 victory over Western in the OUA finals nine days ago, the Hawks claimed their second-straight OUA championship and their third in the past five years.

But that doesn’t mean their road to glory was any less difficult.

The team just barely pulled out a win in the last end against their semi-finals foe, Guelph.

“We had the hammer and we had to take two to pull off the win and luckily we made our last shot,” said skip Laura Crocker.

The 4-3 victory gave Laurier its second straight playoff win over the team from the Royal City. They won 6-5 over the Gryphons in last year’s OUA finals.

The team lost to Western 5-2 in the round robin and were tied with the Mustangs at four apiece in the sixth end.

A single by Laurier in the fifth end evened the score and after three misses within the sixth and seventh ends by Western, Laurier found themselves hoisting their prize, a sight not unfamiliar to the squad after winning gold for Team Canada in an international competition in Japan last month.

And never tiring of being rink rats, Crocker and her second, Jen Gates took in some more action at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer following their win.

Gates was playing fifth for Team Ontario and Jen’s sister, Amanda was the lead.

Now, the team, consisting of Crocker, Jen Gates, Pam Feldkamp, Cheryl Kreviazuk, Sarah Wilkes and Kerilynn Mathers, will attempt to take their second-straight national title and fourth in five years.

But the faces they’ll see in Welland, Ont. where Brock University is hosting the event, won’t look too familiar, save for a couple.

“They have the teams listed on the website now; we don’t know a lot of them personally but we’ve heard a lot of the names and a lot of the teams have really good players, so we definitely have our hands full,” said Crocker.

Along with Laurier, Guelph and Western, the Brock Badgers, Manitoba Bisons, Alberta Pandas, Memorial Sea-Hawks and Saint Mary’s Huskies will all be vying for the championship to be held at the Welland Curling Club from March 14-18.

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