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Team Spirit delivers success for Shelburne curler at provincial qualifier

February 21, 2019   ·   0 Comments


Early this month Shelburne’s Kayla Cruikshank, a student at Centre Dufferin District High School, and a member of Team Zemmelink curling  from London, delivered success at the U18 Women’s Provincial Qualifier Challenge Round. The event took place at the Orangeville Curling Club where twelve teams competed from across the province over three days. Team Zemmelink, coached by Jennifer Cuddie went on to win the B Final in a game against Team Dobson, from the London Curling Club.

This means Team Zemmelink qualifies to attend the OCA Provincials in Paris, March 9-13th. Team Zemmelink includes Skip Tori Zemmelink of Palmerston, Vice Kyra Woodend of Woodstock, Second Caitlyn Evely of Aylmer, Lead Kayla Cruikshank of Shelburne, and Alternate Avery Sinisac of London. The team will join the six teams who won provincial qualifiers in Wingham, Richmond Hill and Brockville, including Team Kropf of KW Curling Club, which won the A final in a close game with Team Zemmelink.

Kayla  Cruikshank and some of her teammates took time this week to share what makes their team a winning combination.  “My team is fantastic,” says Kayla,”We work well together on the ice.” She says the girl’s communication is key. “We are constantly, relaying information on ice conditions and other factors influencing the shot.” Kayla also gives a lot of credit to their coach Jennifer Cuddie. “Our coach is very knowledgable and has lots to share with us, not only about strategy, but also about the importance of ‘playing as a team’ on and off the ice,” says the young athlete.

Coach Cuddie says, “The success of this team has been in their hearts. It takes a team of young women with strong values around work ethic, commitment to team, support of one another, flexibility, and that intangible belief in the dream to win…”

Another secret to their success is the bond the teammates have formed while working towards that dream. “We enjoy spending time together and have created life long friendships,” says Kayla.  Of course, backing those goals are engaged parents, like Joe and Linda Cruikshank. “We are so lucky to be supported by all of our parents who spend countless hours driving us around southern Ontario and cheering from behind the glass,” says Kayla.

“Rarely have I worked with a group of families that have been so accommodating to all the things that I must do to prepare a team for this level of competition,” says Coach Cuddie. “This set of families are wonderful at supporting their athletes, and all the others in our program at London Curling Club, to make it a positive learning atmosphere full of healthy competition for all.”

Skip Tori Zemmelink told the Free Press, “There needs to be good team dynamics on the ice. With our team it’s practically a rule after every shot that we give each other a high-five. This keeps us upbeat and a little more cheerful on ice. We don’t focus on our misses and we learn from our mistakes. We have three goals; to do the best we can, have fun and communicate no matter what.”

Curling successfully, like any sport, means hard work and dedication. Second Caitlyn Evely says, “Each member of the team has juggled curling with school, work and family since the middle of September, and continues to do so now. We take the losses with the wins, and any challenge that comes up we tackle together, as a team. Ultimately, curling has provided me with the opportunity to both improve myself as an individual and make lifelong friends along the way; all while having fun.”

Ultimately, Coach Jennifer Cuddie says these young women have learned, “That hard work does achieve results, and that being the person that you want to be along the way – a kind, respectful, honest, driven athlete – is more important than any medal or championship, but does not stop you from winning one.”

Kayla Cruikshank says, “All the skills we have learned through our time as a team have helped us be focused and driven towards trying our best in all situations. My home club in Shelburne has also been extremely supportive of my interest in the sport and I thoroughly enjoy curling in league play during the week. Curling is one of the few sports you can play throughout your life and I hope to keep curling for a long time.”



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