LIVERPOOL – Liverpool curler Makayla Harnish was recently part of a team that took home gold from the under-18 nationals that took place from April 9 to 14 in St. Andrews, N.B.
The team includes Isabelle Ladouceur – skip, Emilie Proulx – third, Kate Callaghan – second, Harnish – lead, Elsa Nauss – alternate and coach Brian Rafuse.
To qualify for the nationals, Team Ladouceur competed at the under-18 provincials in March in Truro.
Harnish and her teammates have been curling together for two years, and they picked up their alternate curler this year.
Seventeen-year-old Harnish has been curling for 10 years. Harnish says she primarily curls out of Lakeshore Curling Club in Sackville, N.S., but she continues to curl in Liverpool for extra practice.
“My parents used to curl, so I just kind of inherited the sport,” said Harnish about what got her started.
Harnish says there are a lot of things she likes about curling. One of those is curling with her teammates.
“Getting to curl with the girls is amazing,” she said.
She adds curling is a great sport. Harnish describes curling as different from other sports. One of the ways it’s different is the size of a team. Because teams are smaller, it’s easy to make friends and become close to teammates.
To get ready for a big competition like the one the team just won, Harnish and her teammates practise a lot – on and off the ice. Because the girls are spread out, they often go to the gym separately, but they also sometimes meet up for off-ice training.
“Communication is huge part of curling,” said Harnish.
While a big part of winning their medal was practice, Harnish says it was also the team working well together. She says each girl knows what the other one needs to play well.
Throughout the bonspiel, Harnish and her teammates played 11 games, starting with a round robin.
“We played six teams in the round robin,” she said.
The top four teams in the pool make it to playoffs.
“Once you get to playoffs, everything starts over. You can only lose two games,” she said.
The team lost its first playoff game, and didn’t lose again, said Harnish. The team faced Saskatchewan in the gold-medal game. Alberta came away from the tournament with a bronze medal.
With curling over for the season for Harnish and the other girls, the team will continue through the spring and summer to do off-ice training. They’ll also get together sometimes to maintain the team’s chemistry, explained Harnish.
“That’s a huge part of our team is our friendship and how well we get along,” Harnish said.
To learn more about the championships, visit http://www.curling.ca/2018under18/girls-teams/.