Curling squad is ready to rock
HURRY, HURRY HARD. Western skip Heath McCormick of Sarnia curled his way to a junior provincial championship last year. He believes the Mustangs are capable of an OUAA crown this year.
By Ian Ross
Most of Western's varsity teams have the luxury of making evaluations and changes throughout their long season. This is not the case for the men's varsity curling team, which over the next three weeks will begin and end its short season with little time to enjoy the scenery.
Pushed aside for attention by many of Western's higher-profile sports, squads of sweepers and skippers in the past have put their mark on the Ontario varsity scene, recording second and third-place finishes over the past two seasons. This year's squad appears to hold just as much potential and is focused on capturing the OUAA crown which has eluded it for the past six years.
Experience is the key to ending this famine, but with such a short season it is difficult for team members to obtain it. To counter-attack this handicap, head coaches Bob and Peter McKinley have drafted five athletes who will bring a high level of experience to the Mustangs from teams and clubs outside of Western's steel gates.
A question of commitment and focus arises from this fact, but Peter is quick to point out this system has only improved the level of play at the varsity level.
"I view the fact that our players are playing for outside teams at the same time as a positive thing," he said. "And [the coaches of the OUAA] work together so that schedules conflict as little as possible."
Led by experienced second-year students Shaun Harris and Heath McCormick, who together placed fourth at the Canadian Junior Championships, the team holds high expectations.
"Our number-1 goal is to make the OUAA tournament," Harris said. "After that we'll be looking for a top-three finish if not trying to win the whole thing."
Rookie Will Hunter, a fourth-year student, is another key member of this year's team and a symbol of the team's depth.
"Will has been trying out for the past few years but it wasn't until this year that he finally made the team," Peter said. "I believe this shows the depth of Western students that we have to pull from."
The strongest competition at this weekend's Waterloo West Sectional Tournament should come from the host Warriors and the McMaster Marauders.