The NAIT Ooks Curling teams booked their tickets to provincials winning two bronze medals from February 16 – 18, 2018 at ACAC Curling Championships. NAIT’s curling coach, and recent winner of the ACAC coach of the year, Jules Owchar said the entire tournament was a toss up.
“It was a very good championship, probably one of the most competitive…We had three bronze games and we won two of them,” said Owchar. “If we played [again] next weekend, we would get a different winner.”
The NAIT women’s team faced off against the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder, the men played against the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings and the mixed team competed with Red Deer College Kings and Queens. The women’s game was so close that it “came down to the last rock”.
The men’s team was the only one not to come home with hardware.
“They were just struggling a little, they couldn’t get anything going…I wanted them to win but there was no pressure on them. Doesn’t matter where they finished they were going [to nationals],” added Jules Owchar.
A result like this sets the table nicely for Nationals.
“If we get back to form we’ll be competitive. If we curl like we did this weekend, we won’t. But that’s in three weeks so everything can change”.
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Curling Canada Championships are a month away March 24 – 28 in Leduc. All three NAIT teams will be competing for a medal in the nationals.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Jules Owchar elaborated that it’s not just the “excellent teams from the east” that will be challenging, but the location as well.
“It’s kind of a nightmare because it’s in Leduc and it’s not a road trip. Now we got to go every morning, drive to Leduc, come home; drive to Leduc, come home. We usually don’t play until 9 at night, then finish at 11:30, then drive home, then [start the] next morning at 7. So they’re getting about four or five hours of sleep”.
Despite the upcoming challenges at nationals, and the close competition at the ACAC championship, Coach Jules Owchar, was pleased with the season. “I’m really happy with the year. You always start off with your main goal, ours was to get to nationals…And yeah I’d like to win a gold, or silver, but we won a bronze, and that was good enough to get us to the nationals. So I feel they have a real good chance; if they curl and they get some good breaks, we could do some damage.”
– Arielle Trischuk