As defending provincial champions, the MacEwan Griffins women’s curling team is highly confident in its chances of repeating last season’s gold medal victory.
Jesse Snyder / Intercamp
Alana Pinkoski, left, and Laryssa Legan sweep the ice during a match at the ACAC fall regional hosted by NAIT, in December.
After a dominating performance at this year’s fall regional tournament at NAIT, the Griffins feel they can carry the winning streak into the next two tournaments to recapture the championship.
“It’s hard to find a bunch of girls that work well together, but on this team we all work really well together. Everyone is really positive and everyone gets along awesome,” said skip Janelle Trenerri of the team’s chemistry on the ice.
Trennerri, a first-year player for the Griffins, said she knows the team has “pretty big shoes to fill,” but contends the team isn’t dwelling on the added pressure of winning this season.
The Alberta Colleges Athletics Association (ACAC) curling league plays only three tournaments each year, so the women have only a few more ends to play before the final showdown in March.
The Griffins won five of their six games at NAIT, which may explain why the team is in such high spirits and so loose going into the next round of competition.
“When everyone is happy you play better, and I think that’s why we’ve been successful,” said Trenerri. “I’m not worried at all. I think we’ll do fine (this season). Everyone is a happy-go-lucky person and it just works well.”
The same attitude is held by the team’s third, Laryssa Legan. She also sees a team that has gelled quickly, but attributes a lot of their success to the additional coaching they get separately from the university.
“We have good coaches at Grant MacEwan but we also have really good coaches outside of it too that help us build our own skills,” she said.
“We also have really good communication skills. We’re always talking and we’ve got really positive teammates and it just helps to build the team dynamic.”
Alana Pinkoski, who has been alternating lead and second position with Kathryn Schultz, played in a junior provincial tournament with Team Whittemore this weekend on a team completely separate from the Griffins.
Each player spends much of her time playing for other teams, as the Griffins get together only once per week to practice.
Still, the women remain confident even though most of them are only first-year players — Schultz is the only returning player from the 2010 team.
With the season coming down to so few tournaments, they say there is more added pressure on them to come out strong every match.
For Trenerri, three matches isn’t too few, although she admits there is pretty substantial weight on every match they play.
“In the long run, you do figure out who’s on top, but if you’re having a bad weekend, you’re kind of screwed,” she said.
The MacEwan men’s and mixed teams will also be competing in the upcoming tournaments. At the fall regional at NAIT they finished with 2-4 and 4-1 records, respectively.
The winter regional will be held from Jan. 28 to 30 at Olds College and the ACAC provincial are being hosted by Lakeland College in Llyodminster March 4 to 6.