First McMaster curling invitational in years ends well for the Marauders 

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After last year's curling invitational was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, McMaster took the opportunity to host the yearly event at Dundas and preformed phenomenally

Although curling is a sport that can mostly be played in the winter months, it’s back in full swing this January. Just last week, McMaster University hosted their first curling invitational in years after last year's event got cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

This year, both the men’s and women’s teams got to experience the type of competition they’d come against in the upcoming OUA’s, each playing five games against other universities.  

“Last year we were meant to play the invitational at Dundas in January, but it unfortunately got cancelled due to lockdowns at that time. This time, we hosted the event to multiple universities, with Mohawk included, and got a lot of playing time where we clashed against five teams,” said Ben Winchester, a second-year men’s curling player.  

Over the two-day period for which the invitational took place, the five games for the men’s team were against Western University, Trent University, York University, Ontario Tech University and University of Toronto. By the end of the weekend, only three games had been accounted for, with the team picking up a win, a draw and a loss.

However, the women’s team had a much more impressive performance, grabbing an impressive four wins and one draw from five games.  

“I would say that the way we played during the invitational provided a lot of competition to other universities that took part. It certainly was a good weekend for us, and it gave us confidence ahead of the Brock invitational that is happening in a few weeks,” said Winchester.  

Although it is his second year with the curling team, Winchester debuted for the OUA curling team this season. His performances from last season certainly proved to be worthy enough to take part in the highest calibre men’s squad for the upcoming games.   

“I am currently in my second year of studies at McMaster, and it’s my second year as a curling team member. However, last year I was a part of the JV squad whereas this year I got the opportunity to partake in the strongest OUA squad that we have,” said Winchester.  

As with almost every other athlete, progress is a very important thing to Winchester. The expectations and improvement for the second-year athlete are an important aspect in his varsity experience.  

“Personally, I expect myself to further improve this season. I think that it should be every athlete's goal to push themselves to the max and achieve the most that they possibly can. As for the rest of the team, I think that we have a lot of potential to do well this season, especially in the upcoming OUA championships,” said Winchester 

Although currently the curling season is at full swing, after the OUA championships the team is expected to go on their off season. Since curling requires very icy conditions in a rink, this is not widely offered during seasons other than winter.  

“During the off season, we tend to go our separate ways. Everyone goes home and tries to get as much practice as possible, although it can be hard. It can be hard to find a place to do curling during hotter seasons,” said Winchester.  

After a successful invitational at home, McMaster men's and women's team are looking to garner more experience at the Brock Invitational, which takes place on Jan 21. and Jan 22. This will be their final preparation before the main event at the OUA championships which are happening on the weekend of Feb 10.  

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