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Rocky View County curler caps junior career with national silver

Local curler taking U21 Junior Nationals loss in stride as her team moves to women's league.
team crough
Rocky View County curler Julianna Mackenzie, left, with Team Crough representing Alberta at the U21 Nationals in Saskatoon last week.

An outstanding week of curling ended in disappointment for a Cochrane-area curler.

Rocky View County's Julianna Mackenzie, lead for Alberta’s Team Crough, went undefeated in their first five games at the U21 national women’s championships, getting a bye into the semifinals where they played New Brunswick.

The Alberta team, based out of the Crestwood Curling Club in Edmonton, easily beat New Brunswick 10-4, qualifying the rink for the gold-medal match and a chance to qualify for the World Junior Championships as Canada’s representative in Sweden next March.

In the final, Team Crough met Team North Ontario, who only had one loss to Newfoundland and Labrador going into the final match.

North Ontario handed the Alberta team their first loss on Nov. 27 in Saskatoon, beating Team Crough 7-6.

“They were a strong team,” said Mackenzie shortly after the bonspiel. “They only lost one game prior to that one so we knew it was going to be a close one.”

After four ends of close play, North Ontario put up five points over the next three ends. Mackenzie and her teammates couldn’t recover and the match ended in 7-6 in North Ontario’s favour.

“They were putting rocks in play and we were trying to bump them around and generate some points because we were a couple points down,” Mackenzie said. “We weren’t executing perfection as well as we could have, and it just turned around and they ended up getting a three in the fifth end and it was hard later in the game to get back in.”

It was Team Crough’s last junior match together. While Mackenzie, at 19, is still eligible for the junior age group, she is the youngest of Team Crough, and her teammates have aged out of the age group. Mackenzie will move on to women’s to continue playing with Team Crough, she said.

“It was our last kick at the can in juniors,” she said. “Obviously it was not the results we wanted…we are trying to refocus and look forward.”

Mackenzie said the team is ready to move on together, with their next objective to compete in the women’s provincial qualifier, which happened this weekend in Vulcan.

“We have a day off the ice and we will be back training (Nov. 30),” she said.

Mackenzie said Team Crough’s goal at the women's meet is to win their way into the women’s provincial tournament, where they can qualify to play at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, (the national women’s curling championships) which will be from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6 in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“We are just looking ahead to set new goals for the new season,” she said.

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