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We followed up with Cornwall Curling Club’s – PEI Junior Women’s Curling Champions to find out about their experience at the National Championship in Victoria, B.C., January 21-29. The team includes Second: Breanne Burgoyne (Clyde River), Lead: Rachel O’Connor (Charlottetown), Third: Kristie Rogers (New Haven) and Skip: Lauren Lenentine (New Dominion). Lauren Lenentine gave us the following update on behalf of the team.

After competing at Nationals, one word that could describe our emotions would be “proud”. We went to B.C. without any expectations but with a goal to make the Championship Pool. Once we achieved our goal, it was an incredible feeling. We were the first women’s team from PEI to make the championship round since 2012. That year, Sarah Fullerton finished 8th. This year, we finished 7th. We received many messages from home saying how proud everyone was, and those emotions transferred over to us.

The final result in the championship game was Alberta defeating Ontario 5-3.

Our biggest highlight on the ice would be beating B.C. and the reigning World Champions, Nova Scotia. It was a surreal moment. We all realized that we can compete at this level and we are not out of place.

Off ice, interacting with fellow athletes and sightseeing were our two favourite things. Victoria is a beautiful city, and it was nice to feel warm air for a change. We visited a coastal town called Sooke and it was breathtaking. As for meeting curlers, we made friends from across the country. In the evenings, we would all meet in the Player’s Lounge and play board games and ping pong. Some of our favourite memories were made off-ice!!

During the eight days of competition, we played 10 games together as a team. Most days we played two games, but some days we only played one. After the tournament concluded, we all took part in a mixed doubles tournament. We were paired with a male player and coach from another province/territory and we competed for top. I was paired with the lead from Northwest Territories. Unfortunately, all four of us were eliminated in the first round, but it was still an amazing experience.

Staying in “the zone” wasn’t a difficult task. As soon as you walk into the arena/club, you have a feeling that is indescribable. No matter how sore or tired you were, it all disappeared once we were on the ice.

We already knew most of the teams from the Atlantic provinces, but we met lots of new people from western provinces.

One thing that I gained personally from this experience is patience. We saw various strategies that differed from our own and by times it was frustrating. But I learned that if you wait, the right opportunities will come. Another thing we learned was how to preserve ourselves. We learned the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, and rest. These three things were crucial during the long week.

After what we just experienced, our goal next season is to win Junior Provincials and return to Canadian Juniors. We plan on travelling and competing in a few more events throughout the season to prepare for this.

Having our family and friends there as support made the experience even more special. No matter where you were, you could always hear the PEI chants! Being able to look into the stands and see all the familiar faces is a really great feeling. And without a doubt, we had the best fans!! I know their experience was just as amazing as ours.

Pat Quilty, our coach, won the Asham Coaching Award. This award is voted on by fellow coaches, and it is based on sportsmanship. Although I may be biased, I believe Pat was the best choice for this award because of all the hard work and dedication he has put into our team in the past eight years. He always shows respect for other curlers and coaches. It is very well deserved.

“I think it is an exceptional experience for our team because of our age. For such a young team to have such a good result is truly incredible. The way they handled the pressure was awesome. Having this experience can lead to many other great things.” – Coach Pat Quilty

Editors note: Thanks, Lauren, for the great follow-up story and thank you, Pat, for your input and all your efforts with the team. We extend our congratulations to you all. We will be cheering just as loudly next year. We enjoyed following reports from John Cullen @cullenthecurler especially when he tweeted:

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