A local curling team is getting ready to take on the challenge of competing nationally after a stellar performance at the U-18 Ontario Provincial Championship. After several successful qualifiers over the last several months, Team Padbury earned berth into the Canadian champions at the CurlON event held January 12-15.
Team Padbury consists of Emily Padbury (skip – from Kemptville), Kaitlyn Dumoulin (third – from Kemptville), Megan Zwolak (second – from North Gower), Sydney Anderson (lead – from Greely), and Brooklyn Ideson (fifth – from London, a skip of her own team who is joining Team Padbury just for the nationals). The team’s manager is Sydney’s mom, Heather Anderson. The team’s coaches – Doug Johnston and Kim Cooper – joined the team in the summer after observing the curling performance of the girls in action.
The girls who make up Team Padbury previously knew each other from various youth leagues and events. Each player brought unique past accomplishments and experience to the team. They quickly warmed up to each other’s personalities and curling styles. At the U-18 Ontario Provincial Championship, the team suffered an early loss, but was able to bounce back and end the round robin in a tie-breaker situation. Next, they played four games in 24 hours – a demonstration of their physical and mental stamina both individually, and as a team.
The parents of all the girls on the team are very proud of what they have accomplished. “Their ability to make games interesting to the very last rock has left all of us with more gray hair than we had at the start of the season,” joked Heather. “As parents we are very invested in the girls’ success and ready to step into any support role that is asked of us, be it chauffeur, manager, nutritionist, broadcaster, or substitute coach. We are sometimes a superstitious group, and if the girls start doing well, we don’t change a thing – even if it means watching the livestream from a park bench in the cold.”
Tim Dumoulin, father of Kaitlyn, explained that she has been curling for at least eight years now. “On her part, there’s been a lot of work, a lot of dedication between practice, game situations, and balancing school and home life,” said Tim. “She’s really devoted to the sport and she still maintains high grades.” Tim further explained that Kaitlyn is both nervous and excited about the upcoming nationals, since it will be “uncharted waters” for her.
The players themselves were eager to express their excitement. “As we started to find some success as the season progressed, we became the team to watch out for which is something I always wanted,” said Megan. “I feel so privileged to get to curl with these amazing girls who have become so much more than teammates.” “Being a new team, our goal for this season was to make the U-18 provincials which many would say is impossible in your first year together,” added Sydney, who is one of the youngest competitive curlers at just 13 years old. “However, each of us put in the hours and the dedication each week hoping to be successful. Now, I am on my way to the U-18 Canadian Championships with not only my team but my good friends. I can’t wait to see what more we can do together.”
Emily also weighed in. “Going into nationals, we plan to not only play but compete,” she said. “We never thought we would get to nationals, so we want to enjoy every moment. Furthermore, after our performance at provincials, we feel we can accomplish the goals we set by staying focused, but most importantly by having fun.”
“Let’s go compete!” added Kaitlyn. “We played three back-to-back games, two of which were must-wins to get to nationals. And we did that. We did something that no one expected from us as it is our first year together. Let’s keep going and have so much fun doing it!”
Speaking of having fun, Team Padbury has many ways to stay motivated. The front end sings songs as they sweep in order to keep things enjoyable and light. Each pair also has a special high five to show support. Coach Doug showed his commitment to the team by promising to let them dye his hair if they made it to the nationals. Sounds like it may be time to choose a colour!
Anyone interested in helping Team Padbury with the financial aspect of going to the nationals is encouraged to visit the team’s GoFundMe page. It is anticipated that going to the nationals will bring expenses of about $10,000. Please visit https://gofund.me/30263f61. Good luck at the nationals, girls!