They came close last year and this year Lori Freeman has high expectations of herself and her team at the Senior Ladies Curling provincial championships, Feb 21 — 26 in Kamloops, B.C.
“It would be nice to go to the Canadian championships in [Digby] Nova Scotia,” Freeman said as she and her team practiced at the Quesnel Curling Club in preparation for the provincial championships.
“The more times you go the more experience and that means a lot.”
Locally, Freeman along with third Brenda Ernst, second Lynn Mamic and lead Wendy Needham, have plenty of experience, but it was the experience of playing at the elite level that tested their mettle.
The Freeman rink did well in the round robin last year, but ran into the jitters in the playoffs.
“We were just not used to being in that position,” Freeman said.
Although nervous energy can be good, the jitters, especially in the playoffs where few mistakes are made, can lead to ill-afforded misses.
In addition to experience from last year’s provincial championships, the Freeman rink has taken a few steps to improve their game.
This year, the team has added a coach, Crystal Haller, who has 25 years of curling experience.
The extra set of eyes and experience, Freeman said, have allowed the team to make corrections in their individual play, such as their delivery and sweeping which has improved the team’s consistency.
“She’s been very helpful,” Freeman admitted.
In addition to a coach, the Freeman rink has put an added emphasis on practice.
They practice once a week as a team, under the watchful eye of Haller and play as a team in the Quesnel Curling Superleague and usually on another local team.
“The team practices are good and playing in the superleague [Karin’s Deli] helps us gel as a team,” Freeman said.
Freeman’s rink is in essence an all-star rink as they have many years of experience curling and Ernst and Mamic are skips in their own right, which Freeman finds helpful.
“It’s really good, we all give our input and decide what the best move is for us.”
“They’re ladies I have curled with in the past and it’s good that we all get along.
“It’s a group effort and communication is important.”
Freeman knows taking top spot at this year’s championship will not be easy as last year’s champions, the Christine Jurgenson rink from Kerry Park, will be looking for their second straight championship.
“We’re hoping to do better than third,” Freeman said with a cautiously optimistic smile.