Pack primed for nationals
The TRU WolfPack will be underdogs at the 2013 CIS/Canadian Curling Association Championships, but it’s a title that might work to their advantage.
“They better be ready for us,” TRU women’s coach Brenda Nordin said of the competition.
“They might think [we’re walkovers], but we are not.”
The tournament gets underway at the Kamloops Curling Club (KCC) on Wednesday, March 20, and runs through Sunday, March 24.
There will be two WolfPack teams in action — Tiffany Krausher, Alyssa Kyllo, Ashley Nordin, Kym Edgeworth and Katie Hill make up the women’s team, with Darren Nelson, Russ Koffski, Jared Jenkins, Michael Hiram and David Gore set to play on the men’s squad, coached by Ray Olsen.
Both rinks have been preparing for nationals since September, playing in KCC leagues and entering various bonspiels along the way.
“It was nice to have known who was on the team prior to the season starting because it gave us a bit of time to plan,” said Krausher, who will skip the women’s team.
“It’s definitely been a lot of work, but it’s totally been worth it.”
Eight men’s and eight women’s teams will participate in a round-robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals.
Competition will be fierce.
The University of Manitoba women’s team, for example, will feature Ashley Howard, Olympic gold medallist Russ Howard’s daughter, and Breanne Meakin, the daughter of Rob Meakin, a former world men’s curling champion and current coach of Jeff Stoughton’s Manitoba rink.
Breanne already has a world junior championship silver medal under her belt and Ashley is a provincial junior champion.
TRU’s women can take stock in their performance at the Western playdowns, used to determine which teams would advance to nationals.
The WolfPack women placed third, losing only to the first- and second-place teams, with one of those defeats coming against Manitoba.
“We were in it to the last rock,” coach Nordin said.
“I believe we can compete with anybody. The girls have worked so hard.”
Nelson will skip the men’s team, which will be in tough competing against teams such as the defending-champion Alberta Golden Bears, skipped again by Brendan Bottcher, who led his rink to victory last year at the Welland Curling Club in Ontario.
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, skipped by Laura Crocker, won the 2012 women’s title.
The Hawks did not qualify for this year’s tournament.
The semifinals get underway at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.
The finals are slated for 2 p.m. on Sunday, with the winners earning the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Karuizawa Invitational in Karuizawa, Japan.
Tickets are $20 for full-event passes or $5 per draw.
Krausher said her rink is looking forward to the challenge.
“We can handle it, for sure,” she said.
“We’ve put a lot of work in.”
Wednesday — 10 a.m., TRU women vs. University of Prince Edward Island, TRU men vs. Acadia University of Nova Scotia; 3 p.m., TRU women vs. McMaster University of Ontario, TRU men vs. Trent University of Ontario.
Thursday — 2 p.m., TRU women vs. Guelph University of Ontario, TRU men vs. Carleton University of Ontario; 7 p.m., TRU women vs. University of Alberta, TRU men vs. University of Alberta.
Friday — 9 a.m., TRU women vs. St. Mary’s of Nova Scotia, TRU men vs. Dalhousie University of Nova Scotia; 2 p.m., TRU women vs. University of Manitoba, TRU men vs. University of Manitoba.
Saturday — TRU women vs. University of Western Ontario, TRU men vs. University of Waterloo.