By MICKEY STREAN
The NAIT Ooks Curling teams are gearing up for the ACAC Winter Regional.
The tournament takes place at the Avonair Curling Club on January 25, 26 and 27. As with all other Ooks games, admission is free.
Going into the tournament, each of the teams have been practicing and refining their skills. JJ Crowder of the Men’s team and Ryan Saville of the Mixed team say that in practice, each player is focussed on refining their skills.
“Everybody’s got their strengths, everybody’s got something they need to work on,” says Saville.
Even though the Men’s team is undefeated going into the second tournament of the year, Crowder says it’s important to stay humble.
“Be confident, not cocky,” said Crowder. “Obviously 12-0 is the goal, but if we don’t get there then it’s not the end of the world.”
With the Mixed team’s current 3-2 record, they’ll need a strong performance in the Winter Regional if they want to qualify for provincials.
“Like the other guys, just take it game by game. Get out there, put your best effort on the ice,” said Saville, “Play well and if you’re making your shots, it’s going to fall into place.”
The Women’s team has qualified for nationals every year since 2012. Regardless, Emily Clark doesn’t want to underestimate her ACAC competition.
“Honestly, I feel like it’s anybody’s game… Anybody can beat anybody in curling,” said Clark.
Jules Owchar has been coaching the NAIT Curling teams for decades. Over the course of his time here, he has coached teams to a number of provincial and national championships. He also coached Kevin Martin who won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Owchar says that his major focus when developing his players is sticking to the basics.
“You’ve got to repeat and repeat and repeat – properly,” said Owchar.