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The Men’s and Women’s Curling teams competed in Guelph, ON this past week for a chance to win an OUA championship.
Both teams had a strong start to the OUA Championships this year, starting off day one with a record of 2-0 for the men and 1-1 for the women. Progressing throughout the tournament, the teams faced some World Champion curlers (Matt Hall from Laurier and Mary Fay from Queen’s), but managed to keep themselves in playoff contention throughout round robin.
The men had to win their final two games to advance to playoffs, and successfully did that against Guelph and Ontario Tech, alongside their other wins against Ryerson and Algoma. The women had to win one of their final two games were unable to capitalize, forcing them into a three-way tie broken by shootout score, leading them to elimination, finishing the tournament with a 4-3 record in Pool Play and a 6th place finish in Pool A.
In the Quarter Finals, the men played University of Toronto, hoping to earn a spot for the USport Nationals coming up in Manitoba. They fought hard, but unfortunately fell short to Toronto.
“Sometimes when we are dragging a rock we start to get tired, especially after seven hard fought games. But then I just remember, ‘I’m the best,’ and I just let’er bark,” explained lead, Josh Fiegehan.
Many positives were taken away from the week, especially for curlers Evan Chisamore-Johnston and Erin Tomalty who competed in their final year with the Thunderwolves this year.
Tomalty had much success throughout her years playing for the Thunderwolves, capturing a silver medal at USport Nationals in 2016, along with success outside of the school, earning a First-Team All-Star Award at Junior Nationals in 2018.
“Playing on the team for the last four years has been nothing but incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to curl with some amazing athletes, win a silver medal at Nationals in our own city, as well as meet so many new friends along the way,” said Tomalty.
“I have to give credit to my coach Dick Henderson, the time, effort, and passion that he has brought to this team and Lakehead Curling does not go unnoticed. Not only on the ice, Dick takes care of everything and is such a strong advocate for the sport. I am so thankful for these crazy fun adventures I’ve had on the team and can’t wait to cheer on the Thunderwolves from behind the glass. Thanks for the memories guys, it’s been great!”
As for skip Chisamore-Johnston, he also was able to reflect on his final year playing for the Thunderwolves.
“I knew I was going to have a good last appearance at OUAs playing with these guys. It was a tough loss in the playoffs, but something surely to be proud of. I am grateful for the continued support of my coach, Kurtis Byrd, to enable us to achieve the results that we did. The Thunderwolves will always be in my heart,” said Chisamore-Johnston.
With the help of head coach Dick Henderson, Kurtis Byrd (men’s coach) and Samantha Morris (women’s coach) were able to support and encourage the athletes on and off the ice throughout the season and their provincial playdowns.
Kurtis Byrd was happy with the men’s performance this past week, “Really proud of the guys for making playoffs. Our young team represented well both on and off the ice. The future of LU Curling is bright.”
Although just falling short of playoffs, first year coaching the LU Women’s curling team, Samantha Morris also reflected on how proud she was of her team.
“It has been a tough season for the girls, only being able to play a few games as a whole team a week before the Provincial playdowns due to placements and scheduling conflicts. However, I could not be more proud of their performance and how they came together as a team so quickly,” said Morris.
“Their dedication to the sport has demonstrated that their challenges faced throughout the season did not limit their success they had at OUAs. Although it was not the outcome that we wanted, the girls fought hard to the last rock of every game and were never underestimated by their opponents. I am honoured to be able to have the opportunity to work with such amazing student athletes and fellow coaches, who were so welcoming and supportive when I came onto the team.”