Innisfail students learn to curl

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INNISFAIL – The Innisfail High School curling team is back on the ice.The curling program, which was rebooted in 2016, had been a part of extracurricular sports at the school for several years and made a comeback last season thanks to interest from students.

“The curling program had been on before last year but there was a four- or five-year gap where there was no curling,” said Peggy Freeman, co-coach of the Innisfail High School curling team.

She coaches alongside teacher Rod Andrews.

“Then we had some students that were very interested in it and they approached us about coaching them (in curling).”

Both Freeman and Andrews are avid curlers and agreed to take up the task with the high school curling team.

This is another rebuilding year for us. We have to rebuild and recruit and try to get some more kids out to curl.” – Peggy Freeman, co-coach

Of the 16 students who curled last year, 11 of them graduated and moved on, said Freeman, noting their focus this season is recruiting and rebuilding the team.

“This is another rebuilding year for us. We have to rebuild and recruit and try to get some more kids out to curl,” she said. “(Former student) Cole Westrate goes to Red Deer College but has come back and helps us coach.”

The curling team began practising in November and will wrap its season in March, said Freeman, noting a small group of six to eight curlers in grades 10 to 12 who played as a mixed team this season.

They are currently practising every Monday afternoon from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Innisfail Curling Club.

They hope to make playdowns in February.

“We’ll see how the season goes. We’re very fortunate because the Innisfail Curling Club, under Lowell Peterman, allow us to pick up extra ice time if we need extra practice,” explained Freeman.

Two curlers with the team this year are Grade 12 student Bret Marshall, and Grade 11 student Keegan Mobley.

Both have curled since they were young and enjoy being part of the school team.

“My dad used to curl. He used to play in the farmers’ bonspiels and so did my whole family,” said Mobley, noting the family tradition in curling.

“It’s a good group of people and it’s lots of fun,” added Marshall, noting he enjoys both the athletic and social aspects of the sport. “It’s a little bit of exercise and not too much commitment. You also get lots of critiquing (from the coaches), that can help you in the future.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.