NORTH DUNDAS – Team Acres, an Under-18 women’s curling team based in North Dundas, has a new name, Team Ontario. The team won the Ontario Curling Association’s U-18 championship in Kingston April 3.
The team, skipped by Emma Acres, was one of eight that played at the provincial championship, held at the Royal Kingston Curling Club March 30-April 3.
Two members of the team, Acres, and her sister and Vice on the team Ava Acres, are from North Dundas with family ties to South Dundas. The Leader spoke with Emma after the championship win.
“It was a pretty incredible moment,” Emma said. “It’s a great honour to win and represent Ontario at the nationals.”
The team, which plays out of the RCMP Curling Club in Ottawa, qualified for the provincial championship earlier in March.
In round-robin play, Team Acres finished tied for third with Team Taylor and had to play a tie breaker for the third and final playoff spot in the championship.
Team Acres advanced with an 8-0 win in five ends to face Team Frlan from Kanata in the semi-final.
In the semi-final, Team Acres won 9-5 in seven ends to move on to the championship final which was a very close match.
“[The final] went into an extra end. Very scary,” she explained. “We didn’t have hammer (last rock), so we had to hope for a miss from Team Johnston.”
Emma described making her final “perfect” shot which made the opposition’s hammer shot more difficult.
“They missed it by about an inch,” Emma said. Team Acres won 6-5.
Emma pointed out that the teams they lost to in the round-robin were the teams they beat to win the championship.
“We ended up having to win three straight against the teams we lost against earlier to win the championship,” she said. “ We bounced back. Coach Mainville said we slayed all our dragons, and we did.”
The team will now represent Ontario at the Curling Canada 2022 Canadian U-18 Curling Championship in Oakville May 2-7.
“We’re excited to go to the nationals,” she said. “It’s such a great experience for our team. It’s what you dream about when you play. To compete on a national stage.”
For Emma, this is her last season at the U-18 level. This spring she will graduate from North Dundas District High School and will attend Queen’s University this fall in the Concurrent Education program. She plans to continue curling with the hopes of competing at a high level as an adult.
“A lot of players stop competing once they go to college. I am not though,” she said. “I want to keep competing, join a team in Kingston and continue to play at the highest level I can.”
The collegial atmosphere and camaraderie is, for her, the best part of the sport.
“You’re friends with your teammates and your competitors off the ice,” Emma said. “Even the professionals in curling care about the sportsmanship and giving back to the curling community.”
Team mate Ava will take over as skip for next season with plans to defend the team’s provincial title.
The two began their interest in the sport at the Winchester Curling Club through the Little Rocks program eight years ago. From there, they advanced to playing out of the RCMP Club in Vanier which was more central for the team.
In addition to Emma (skip) and Ava (vice), 15, team members include Liana Flanagan (second), 17, from Spencerville, and Mya Sharpe (first), 15, from Embrun.
For the team’s success, Emma credits it to her teammates.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the dedication and work of everyone on the team,” she said. “It’s a lot balancing competitions and school work. We made a commitment at the beginning of the season and I think we’ve all stayed dedicated, seeing through to this goal that we play as hard as we can and try to win a provincial. They have practiced and worked hard at this.”
For Emma, she said this is a dream come true.
“I used to close my eyes and think of what it would feel like winning a provincial championship. To go to nationals. I remember that last couple of seconds when [Johnston] missed their shot and how quickly those emotions come over you. It was a surreal moment, that it came true. It doesn’t happen every day that you get to represent your home or to make it that big in a sport that we all love.”