Laurier curlers to represent Canada

Wearing the Canadian maple leaf and representing your country is an opportunity that many dream about, yet few live. Laurier students Matt Mapletoft and Laura Crocker, however, will be among those honoured few.

The two varsity curlers won the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships last weekend in Sorrel, Quebec.

Mapletoft and Crocker represented their home province of Ontario and will now represent their country at the World Junior Championships in Films, Switzerland in March.

Mapletoft, having worn the maple leaf last year at the 2009 Winter Universiade, knows that although the pressure will bear down on them, they have to stay grounded to be successful.

“[You] don’t focus on who you’re representing because … you don’t see the maple leaf on your back until you watch it on TV,” he said.

“You have to control the controllables,” commented Crocker on how difficult it will be to square up against the best in the world and not crack under the pressure. “In the end, it’s really all the same thing: you’re throwing rocks.”

Despite the strength of the competition they will face in Switzerland, both are confident that having beaten the best junior teams from the best curling nation in the world, they are well equipped to take all the world can throw at them.

“You have just as hard a time winning the Canadian championships as you do the world championships because our competition is so strong,” said Crocker.

“But they do have an advantage … the teams we will be playing against are heavily funded … They have a lot of money put into them by their government; we only get funding at the start of the season … their ice is also wider,” said Mapletoft.

Regardless of the advantage other countries might have, both Crocker and Mapletoft can find solace knowing they will be making the trip with another Laurier student.

“It’s nice to be able to relate to someone that way when everything begins to get piled on top of you,” said Crocker.

On top of the performances by Mapletoft and Crocker, Laurier’s women’s curling team recently represented Canada at the Karuizawa International Curling Championships in Karuizawa, Japan and took home the gold medal.

Mapletoft and Crocker will follow Laurier alumnus John Morris, who led the last Ontario men’s rink to win the Canadian Juniors, and went on to win back-to-back World Championships. In a few weeks, Morris will be taking to the ice in Vancouver, as the third for Kevin Martin’s Olympic team.

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