This year’s curling season is finally wrapping up. With the Scotties already over, the Brier already underway, and Worlds ending the season off in April, we see yet another season come to a conclusion.
But the spring is almost here – something everyone that lives here should be excited about.
Sadly, for the University of Regina’s curling teams, the season ended during the Canada West playdowns, which were held in Edmonton from Feb 14-17. A rather heartbreaking way to spend the weekend after Valentine’s Day, if you ask me.
However, both teams came home smiling. For the boys team it was an exciting opportunity, seeing as they had only ever played one game prior together as a team, the U of R qualifying spiel, where many of them met for the first time.
For the girls, it was a great opportunity to learn and to get the chance to finally compete against different teams.
The women’s team, skipped by Lorraine Schneider, has been together for two years and is extremely competitive in the Saskatchewan Junior league. For years they have been playing against many of the same teams around the province. To be able to play against some new competition at Westerns was like a breath of fresh air.
“It’s so nice to play teams that are from out of the province,” Schneider said. “We play every team three or four times a year in the same competition for juniors, so it was nice to go out there and to not have those huge rivalries against the teams.”
Rounding out the women’s team is Callan Hamon at third, Tessa Vibe at second, and Ashley Desjardins at lead. Schneider, Vibe, and Desjardins have been curling together for five years now, while Hamon has been a part of the squad for the past two. Although they have a lot of experience together, the team is still fairly young – one of the youngest to compete at Westerns.
“It’s so different [from juniors] and it is such a good experience,” Schneider said. “We just had so much fun and we learned a lot.”
"We play every team three or four times a year in the same competition for juniors, so it was nice to go out there and to not have those huge rivalries against the teams.” – Lorraine Schneider
The ladies finished with a 2-3 record, and the men 2-4. Both teams were only a couple of wins shy from heading on to Nationals.
“We had some really good games and some others ones we should’ve won,” Schneider said. “They have so much experience and totally different playing styles than we are used to. It’s just fun.”
The main goal for the Schneider rink going into the season was to win Junior provincials. But, going to Westerns for a second year was an added goal for the team after they unfortunately lost in the semi-finals at provincials.
However, looking into the future, Schneider hopes they can claim the spot as the U of R team for a third consecutive year next year. It would mean a berth straight to Nationals because Regina is hosting the competition next year, and the city that hosts gets a spot for their university team. And, surely, these girls have paid their dues.
As for the men, it is hard to say where their future plans will take them as a team.
Schneider hopes that the crowd attendance for Nationals next year will be fairly decent.
“It would be very exciting to play in front of a big turnout,” she said.
So, pencil it in now: March 2014, here in Regina, university curling Nationals.
Photo courtesy of cache.gawker.com