‘Experience’ year for WLU curling
It was a year of learning for Wilfrid Laurier curling, as both the men and women’s seasons came to an end last weekend.
From Feb. 14–18, the Hawks competed at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) curling championships in Guelph. Both teams finished with a 3-3 record through round robin play and did not advance to the semifinals. The men’s team finished third in their pool while the women finished fourth.
The men’s team, consisting of skip Aaron Squires, vice Fraser Reid, second Spencer Nuttall and lead Joel Waters, defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 8-5 before falling to the Waterloo Warriors 3-1, the Brock Badgers 5-4 and the Trent Excalibur 6-5. Trent and Waterloo advanced from the pool.
Although Laurier’s men’s team has been trying to find their niche in the past few seasons, it was the first time in three years that the women’s title was not brought back to WLU.
In 2011-12, Laurier curling was dominated by the team of skip Laura Crocker, vice Sarah Wilkes, second Cheryl Kreviazuk and lead Jen Gates, who won the OUA championship, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship and the Kariuzawa International Curling Championships in Japan in 2012.
However, despite following last year’s heavyweight team, women’s head coach Maurice Wilson insists that having a target on their backs is just another factor in Laurier’s game.
“They’re still Laurier and we’ve had a lot of success in the last couple years,” he said. “[But] I kind of always look at it this way: we may have a target on our backs, being Laurier, but if they’re looking at the target on our backs they’re not looking at the target on the other end that they should be looking at. You just need to take advantage of it.”
The Hawks welcomed three new members to the team this year, with only Kreviazuk returning. Second-year Carly Howard served as skip for first-year vice Kerilynn Mathers, first-year second Evangeline Fortier and second-year Kreviazuk.
After being eliminated from the tournament in a 6-5 loss in the final round robin game to the Carleton Ravens, Wilson and Howard both emphasized that this year’s OUA championship was a learning experience for the newly-molded Hawks.
This is the first year that this set of players have played together.
“It’s a much younger team, not quite as experienced, but there’s only one way to get experience and that’s go out and play the game,” Wilson said. “I thought they showed a lot of courage and skill this week.”
“We have tons of time,” Howard said of her team’s experience. “This was our first year together as a team so it was just an experience this year and see how far we could go.
For Howard, moving forward is her main goal.
“It doesn’t matter who came before you, you just have to play your own game and do as best as you can,” added Howard. “Whatever they did doesn’t matter right now and I have to try as best as I can.”