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Find McMaster’s curling team sweeping their way through the OUA
McMaster’s varsity curling team has an impressive history. The curling team has not only been part of Marauder Sports for more than 25 years, but the women’s team brought home the OUA championship in the 2019-20 season.
The curling teams are among McMaster’s smallest varsity teams, with the women’s roster made up of five athletes and the men’s team made up of four. The smaller sizes help foster team spirit as all the members can mesh and work well together, both on and off the ice. Additionally, having fewer players gives each member more opportunity to receive coaching and individual attention to develop their skills.
Conversely, having so few members can create a couple of issues. Everything from administration to practice times is managed by the curling team presidents and skips, Madelyn Warriner and Daniel Van Veghel. As such, the curling team’s social media is limited to a Facebook page due to a lack manpower dedicated to overseeing it. The sport of curling itself doesn’t garner much attention, but over the past couple of years, McMaster’s athletics and recreation department has aided in increasing their media exposure by conducting interviews and writing articles.
“Compared to other sports the numbers are still small, yes, [but] we can really see a growth which is exciting for us as a program,” said Van Veghel.
The women’s curling Ontario University Athletics season occurred on the weekend of Feb. 26 and the men’s OUAs occurred nearly a month later, on the weekend of March 19. While neither team brought home the championship, both are proud of the work they put in and how they played.
“We were probably one of the first sports, at least on the women's side, to have our OUAs following the return to competition. Normally we'd be ramping up our training right before, but we didn't really have that opportunity this year. But given that I'm still very proud of how we did. I think we really left it all out there,” said Warriner.
Curling is a unique sport in that it prioritizes precision and accuracy over power. It requires players to plan their plays many moves in advance and adapt not only to their opponents’ moves, but also their own.
“You’re playing against yourself. You're making your own shots. You're focusing on what you can control rather than what the other team is doing . . . You have no direct effect on how the other team performed, which is very unique to curling,” explained Warriner.
Focusing on one’s own moves is a common sentiment in curling but keeping spirits high helps as well.
“Sometimes the other team just plays better and there's lots of times at the end of it you go, ‘Wow, we were awesome. The score doesn't show it, but we played very well,’” said Van Veghel.
The 2021-2022 curling season may be over, but this team is excitedly looking toward the next and is ready to repeat the previous season’s win.
Assistant Sports Editor
Over the past week, the McMaster Marauders curling team took a trip to Thompson Rivers University to compete against the best colleges and universities in the nation. After finishing with a silver medal at the OUA championships, McMaster qualified for the CIS/CCAA tournament and put together a respectable result.
Despite the curling team being in their sophomore season of competition, Mac finished 3-4 in national pool play – good enough for the fourth overall finish and highest result from an OUA team.
In their first match, Mac took on the silver medalist Alberta Pandas and narrowly lost with a 9-8 score. The young bunch rebounded quickly, though, defeating the host Thompson Rivers WolfPack in a 6-1 rout.
The Maroon and Grey’s third game saw the see-saw trend begin, as Mac ran into the gold-medal Manitoba Bisons. The CIS/CCAA champions bested Mac in a heated battle, with the Bisons winning 10-8 in the tenth end.
Similar to the previous day of competition, the Marauders handled their next opponent of the day. The University of Prince Edward Island Panthers dug themselves a 6-1 hole before storming back. Mac weathered the comeback attempt and ended Day Two of the tournament with a 7-6 victory.
Day Three saw the highlight of the young program as the Marauders defeated the OUA champion Western Mustangs. It only took McMaster seven ends to dethrone their rivals and earn revenge from the OUA championship loss from a few weeks prior. With one game left, Mac stood with a 3-2 record.
However, the Marauders would find themselves on the wrong side of revenge in their match against the Guelph Gryphons. Mac handled the Gryphons in the OUA semifinals, but the Gryphons had the last laugh after taking a quick start in the national game to send the Marauders back to a .500 mark.
The tournament came to a bitter close as the Saint Mary’s Huskies beat the Maroon and Grey in a one point nail-biter. It took ten ends, but the AUS representative proved victorious.
Although McMaster narrowly missed out on grabbing some hardware for the trophy case in the David Braley Athletic Centre, the sky is the limit for Mac’s curling team.