Airdrie curler wins at junior curling championship
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 01:18 pm
It’s been a few days since Airdrie resident Keely Brown won the 2014 Women’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships with Team Alberta in Liverpool, N.S. on Jan. 25.
But for the 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, that accomplishment is something that still feels like a dream.
“We are still experiencing quite a buzz right now,” Brown said.
“Our team has watched many teams win this event on television over the years, and now that it actually happened to us it’s pretty crazy.”
“It doesn’t feel like it’s real to us,” she added.
Brown, who is the third on Kelsey Rocque’s team from the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton, has also spent the last few days trying to catch up with all of the congratulatory messages that she has received since winning the national title.
“It’s not just from everyone back home in Airdrie, as I’m getting messages of support from all over the place,” she said.
“It seemed like everyone that I had ever talked to, people who knew members of my family, or friends of my friends were contacting myself and the other members of the team, which was pretty awesome.”
The Alberta foursome, which also consists of second Taylor McDonald and lead Claire Tully, earned its spot into the final with a 9-1 record in round-robin play that put them at the top of the standings.
“We had a little bit of a shaky start at first, as it took us a little bit to get used to playing in that environment, as being in a national event was a first for everyone on the team,” Brown said.
“In our fourth game, we came from behind to defeat the Yukon 9-8 in a game that we should have lost, as they were playing a lot better than us.”
“Looking back on it now, I think that game was a huge turning point for us,” she added.
“We played well right after that, and even though we lost one game to Nova Scotia, we won our final game against Manitoba to earn a bye into the finals.”
In the championship game against Kalia Van Osch of British Columbia, the two rinks traded points throughout the 10-end affair, before Rocque made a takeout on her final shot to earn a point in the last end to take a 7-6 victory.
“Claire made a perfect tick shot on her first throw, and that meant that we had one extra rock that we didn’t have to deal with,” Brown said.
“Then Taylor made a double peel on one of her shots and the house was completely clear, so we knew that we would have easier shots as the end went along.”
“It ended up being just simple hits instead of having to make a big draw or a long run-back to get our point, and everything worked out in our favour on that day.”
Brown herself played lights out during the finals, as her 93 per cent shooting percentage was the highest among the eight players that took to the ice.
“I was just in the zone all day long, and I was focused on making my shots as I knew that the ice was going to be faster with the TV lights on and everything,” Brown said.
“As a result, I had to throw things slower than what I had been throughout the week.”
“Honestly, I think I was more nervous for the provincial final than I was in the national final,” she added.
“Even though you had the TV lights from TSN and a bigger crowd on hand, we just stuck to our routine and it felt more like we were just going to curl another game.”
Next up for the Rocque team will be a trip to Flims, Switzerland from Feb. 26 to March 5, when they will represent Canada at the 2014 World Junior Curling Championships.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Brown said.
“This is something I have been dreaming about my whole life, and I can’t wait to get over there.”