Hometown Ponoka curler wins gold at ACAC mens provincials

(Photo submitted)

(Photo submitted)

By Sam Donnelly

For Ponoka News

Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) curler from Ponoka Thomas Crawford describes the work and support that led to his climactic gold medal victory at ACAC’s men’s curling championship.

March 5 at the Rose City Curling club saw curlers from around Alberta face off with RDP defeating the University of Alberta – Augustana campus to win the gold medal in the ACAC’s Men’s curling championship.

The team was comprised of: lead, Reece Brigley from Sylvan lake; Crawford, second; third, Daniel Humbky from Lacombe; and skip, Ayden Whittmire from Lethbridge.

Crawford said that one of the biggest issues he and his team faced was the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Due to the regulations, RDP played in local Red Deer leagues for most of the year, only competing against other college teams a month before the championship in regionals a month earlier.

The four team mates had not played together prior to this season, either. Crawford describes a big part of the season was learning how to play with people with different styles.

Despite this, Crawford describes his team going in with a strong mindset that allowed them to better bounce back from failed shots and keep relative stress levels low.

“That was our best game of the weekend. The nerves didn’t seem to get to us,” said Crawford of the gold medal game.

The ACAC’s curling competition will be one the last times Crawford will curl for the RDP Kings as he will be graduating from his accounting program after the few remaining local matches.

“The win for me means four years of hard work. These last for years have meant a lot of work for me and the people who support me and it all culminated for this final event of my college career,” said Crawford.

After becoming a certified accountant, Crawford is unsure where his curling career will go from there.

Crawford said he got into curling eight years prior after looking for a new sport. He took interest in curling due to his grandparents having a great affinity for the sport. According to Crawford, they played in the local leagues in Ponoka.

“I ended up liking it a lot,” said Crawford.

Crawford says that he really looks up to his grandparents and says he went to a lot of curling events with them.

After getting interested in the game, Crawford spoke to his high school coach. His coach had competed at RDP as well, so after finding the accounting program he decided to enroll.

“This event also shows the energy and effort this team put in this year and the challenges we had to face because of COVID.”