Women’s curling wins fourth CIS title in five years

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WELLAND, Ont.- It is said they are something of a dynasty.

With the number of championships collected in the last three months, awards given to individual players, and the momentum that is behind the squad, it is no question that the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s curling team is one for the record books.

Capturing their fourth Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship in five years Sunday, the Golden Hawks dominated the gold medal game finishing off with a 9-2 victory over the host Brock Badgers.

That’s not including the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) gold medal, the thirteen national titles in school history, and the gold medal from the Kariuzawa International Curling Championships in Japan in early 2012.

“It feels amazing,” said vice Sarah Wilkes after the celebrations. “Just coming here and defending our national championship. It was a little nerve-wracking, but we knew if we played well we could do it and it feels great.”

And to continue the dominant journey, the Golden Hawks now have a ticket stamped for the FISU games to represent Canada in Italy in March 2013.

“We’re really excited,” skip Laura Crocker said after the victory Sunday. “This is a world university games year, which is the second biggest tournament next to the Olympics and we get to go to it and represent Laurier.”

And this team is nowhere near done.

Being the last Laurier team to be competing in their respective playoff competitions, the women set out to defend their OUA and CIS titles. With their only losses in round robin play coming to the teams they played in the respective finals, the Hawks finished their season with an impressive 21-4 record in three major competitions.

Despite having to adjust to the awkward ice conditions at the Welland Curling Club, the Hawks managed to curl 76 per cent during the CIS national championships, which was the highest overall percentage of the teams competing.

The team also swept the first team All-Canadian honours, with skip Crocker, vice Wilkes, second Jenny Gates and lead Cheryl Kreviazuk being announced to the roster. Coach Maurice Wilson was also named CIS Women’s Coach of the Year.

The amazing feats of this dominant team created a large target after their CIS win a year ago against Brock in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but it didn’t stop the Hawks from sweeping the contests in 2012.

“I totally felt that [there was a target on our backs], but if we play well, it doesn’t really matter,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes also individually made history Sunday, winning her third CIS championship. She has become the first athlete in Laurier history to achieve the honour.

It’s hard to say where this team will end up after the base of fourth years Crocker, Wilkes, Gates and alternate Pamela Feldkamp graduate, but the team is certain the continued support from Laurier will carry them to victory.

“Again it’s a testament to Laurier,” Crocker explained. “We’re so thankful to go to Laurier and curl at Laurier because it just shows how much support really makes a difference. We get more support than any school in the country and it really shows on the ice.”

In the men’s championship, the Alberta Golden Bears captured the gold medal by defeating the Waterloo Warriors 7-1 in eight ends.

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