High school curlers are working diligently in preparation for zones and provincials, which are to be hosted right here in Ponoka.
Zones are set for Friday, Feb. 26 and 27 with the girls’ and mixed teams looking for a strong showing although all three — boys’, girls’ and mixed rinks — landed a provincials berth for being host town teams.
Girls’ skip Nikki Smith said her team performed well enough in areas to land a spot at zones and now her goal is for the team to maintain a strong focus throughout the competition. The challenge will be keeping a positive focus.
“In a way it could be our mindset, because the last couple years, we’ve gotten really close,” said Smith.
She wants the rink to go into zones with the goal that they will do well. All four curlers have been together as a unit for the last two years and they have a strong rapport with each other. “As a team we can work pretty well together,” said Smith.
The mixed team was pulled together in a relatively short time, having had little more than a few weeks as a group. Considering how much time they had to train, the team was able to land a spot at zones, said skip Riley Deleeuw.
“I’m excited about being able to represent Ponoka,” said Deleeuw. “We’ve had a few challenges because our mixed team was thrown together a few weeks ago.”
“At areas, for only having everyone at one practice, I think we did pretty good,” he added.
The challenge going into zones he feels will be to keep a positive focus whether curlers miss shots or lose a game.
Despite missing out for a chance to compete at zones, the boys’ team had some positive lessons during areas, said Skip Matthew Jones. Like the mixed team, the boys have only been together for a few weeks and they are working on their team unity in preparation for provincials.
The boys’ team is comprised of five players and Jones said after the fourth end, they may switch a player out during a game.
Provincials are set for Thursday, March 3 to 5.