The NAIT Ooks men’s and mixed curling teams headed off to Vermilion in early March to face the best teams in the ACAC. The women’s teams, unfortunately, did not do well enough in regionals to earn a spot at provincials.
Mixed team wins silver
Lakeland College hosted the three-day event, which featured seven schools across three round-robins. For the Ooks, the mixed team did the best, earning a silver medal and just losing out to the Lakeland Rustlers. After losing to the Ooks in the semi-finals, the Rustlers managed to redeem themselves against Red Deer Polytechnic before ultimately coming full circle and beating NAIT for the illustrious gold medal.
Second-year head coach Karynn Flory made sure that her teams were ready for championship weekend. “[We worked on] communication and just some last-minute strategy conversations. [And] how to adapt to different ice conditions and making sure that that doesn’t get into your head. Kind of the mental components and keeping it light and fun and having a good time.”
Curling, like many other sports, is just as mental as it is physical. Flory says this year’s success can be attributed to her teams’ chemistries and camaraderie. “I like they’re all really good friends on and off the ice. So, I think that’s super helpful. I enjoy coaching them and hanging out with them on the ice and getting to know them a little bit off the ice too.”
The men’s Ooks won against our provincial rival, SAIT, in the first game on Friday. Against the University of Alberta’s Augustana Vikings, they couldn’t manage to secure the victory, creating another rivalry matchup against SAIT for the bronze medal. Just like last year, the Ooks took home the bronze medal.
As mentioned, the women’s team for NAIT did not participate. Just across 118 Avenue, the Concordia Thunder took the gold medal home in the ACAC championship.
The Ooks men’s curling team went on to take their talents to nationals in Sudbury Ontario for a four day tournament. Unfortunately, the Ooks tied third last in nationals, with a record of 2-5. Even though the Ooks were unable to compete for any medals in this years CCAA Championships, Sean Borkovic was named to the 2023 Men’s Second Team All-Stars ACAC roster.
Cover photo via NAIT Athletics