Team Crough is eyeing some women's curling events next month in St. Albert and Airdrie on the heels of their experience at the Alberta Scotties women's provincial championships in Grande Prairie this month.
While they won't be representing the province at the national Scotties in February, Rocky View County's Julianna MacKenzie said Team Crough has learned a great deal by playing against Alberta's best.
"The curling was fantastic," Team Crough's lead said. "It was a really good atmosphere to be playing in a venue like that. The calibre of play was so high."
The team finished in the fifth slot, with two wins and five losses, tying with the Pierce and Sturmay rinks with 1.901 points.
Team Walker will be moving on to the Scotties in Thunder Bay, Ont. as Alberta's representing rink.
"As the youngest team going in there, we wanted to go in and take away all the learning experience that we could to move forward on those losses," said Mackenzie, who graduated from St. Timothy's High School in Cochrane in 2019.
In reminiscing on her first time competing at the women's provincial championships, MacKenzie pointed to the added energy, noise and distractions fans in the crowd can have on a curler's play, as well as the meticulous differences quality arena ice can have on shots.
"The big teams," she said. "They are going to be able to see all the angles and make more high-difficulty shots. We have to be more careful where we leave our rocks."
While Team Crough — which includes skip Elysa Crough, second Kim Bonneau, third Quinn Prodaniuk, MacKenzie, and is coached by former national curler Mark Johnson — has faced most of the teams they encountered in Grande Prairie before, MacKenzie said it's always a good experience to take on that calibre of competition.
"It was good to play some elite teams and see how we compare and where we need to be to beat them in the future," she said
Following these season-finishing events next month, MacKenzie said she'll keep up with her off-season training regimen, which includes strength and cardio training up to four times a week.
As far as cross-training, she said she may take a swing at joining a softball team in the spring.
"I spared a couple of times with a friend's team," she said. "That was fun."