Although they finished shy of nabbing a provincial title, the members of the Muskie girls' curling rink still were pleased with how they fared at the OFSAA boys' and girls' curling championships held last Wednesday through Saturday in North Bay.
The squad, comprised of Ashley Payne (skip), Andrea Schram, Daffni Chabot, and Jillian Cousineau, went 3-1 in Pool 'F' play to set up a quarter-final showdown against Paris DHS on Friday night.
The black-and-gold started strong in building a 6-3 lead after five ends but Paris stormed back—scoring two in the sixth before adding singles in both the seventh and eighth to book its spot in Saturday morning's semi-finals.
“Their goal was to get to the quarter-finals. They wanted to be first in their pool and they achieved both of those two goals,” enthused teacher rep Tirzah Baird, who coached the team as regular Muskie coach Kim Beaudry currently is skipping her Team Northern Ontario rink at the Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships in Chilliwack, B.C.
“They wanted to do better than they did last year [at OFSAA in Fort Frances] because they got the antique bronze last year,” Baird noted.
"So they wanted to do better than that but they were really happy with how they did because it's a little bit of a newer team.
“One player was only put on, probably in January, in Daffni [Chabot] the lead, so it was amazing how well they played together,” Baird added.
“They'd been curling for, probably, two-three weeks straight at that point because they had done the NWOSSAA playdowns and then they had a day off and then a bunch of them did the U18 provincials in Fort Frances,” she recounted.
“Then they had March Break and we went off to OFSAA.”
The Muskies opened Pool 'F' play last Wednesday morning with a narrow 8-6 setback to Bill Hogarth SS (Markham).
But the squad rebounded in a big way that afternoon with a 10-2 romp over the host Widdifield Wildcats in just five ends.
Fort High kept the momentum going as it routed Central Huron SS 10-2 on Thursday afternoon before ending round-robin play with a 6-4 win over Bishop Allen Academy the following afternoon to book a quarter-final berth.
W.C. Eaket SS wound up winning the girls' title with a narrow 5-4 win over St. Theresa's HS while Eastview SS claimed the boys' crown with a 9-3 romp over Ursuline College on Saturday afternoon.
“I think it was a really positive week. They curled really well and they worked really well together on and off the ice,” Baird lauded.
“Great teamwork," she added. ”There was never any negative vibes, I would say, and they were super supportive of each other—even if they were down.
“They really stuck together as a team so that was really nice to see and it's just easier for the coach that way, too,” she chuckled.
“They were a lot of fun off the ice, too, and they really enjoyed their OFSAA experience.”
This was Schram's last year with the Muskies, which Baird noted “she came out of the week saying she felt like she won it all because of how they played together.”
“So they were really proud of themselves, and I was super proud of how they represented Fort Frances High School and Fort Frances as a whole.”
The rink already is looking forward to next season and already has been focusing on new goals to implement to their game.
“I think they are definitely excited to move forward because they did really well [at OFSAA],” noted Baird.
“They already are setting goals for next year so they want to start working at them now in setting goals and they are talking about working out over the summer, which is exciting because a lot of students don't do that,” she reasoned.
“Some of them do but some of them don't think of that when they are in high school curling,” Baird conceded.
“So they are already planning their training sessions for the summer and setting goals to maybe achieve a better spot next year.”