The Sarnia Golf and Curling Club will be well represented at the USA National Curling Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan next month.
Club members Emilia Juocys and Stephanie Senneker have qualified to compete at the national event in the Women’s division for Wisconsin-based Team Debbie McCormick, while Heath McCormick will compete in the Men's Division for a fifth consecutive year.
Heath McCormick, who lives in Sarnia but was born in Lansing, Michigan, won the event in 2012 in Philadelphia. (He and Debbie McCormick are not related).
Senneker, from Perry, Michigan, has been crossing the border to play and practice at the Sarnia location for three seasons, while Juocys, from Rochester Hills, Michigan, has been a member here the past two seasons.
The women are part of a contingent of up to ten curlers from Michigan who make the international trek weekly to take advantage of the level of competition and the superior ice conditions of the sheets on Errol Road West.
“It's a great environment,” said Senneker, who along with Juocys gives credit to head ice technician Don Bourque at the Sarnia facility for his ice-making skills.
“He really knows what he's doing,” Senneker said. “He makes brilliant ice.”
Despite being together for just a few months, the McCormick rink won the Challenge Round in Bismark, North Dakota earlier this month to qualify for the Nationals. Both women think the foursome can make some noise at the national event.
“Our expectations are high,” said Juocys. “We expect to do well.”
And they’ll have plenty of a local moral support. The pair has been told a group from the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club intend to make the three-hour drive from Kalamazoo to act as their personal cheering section.
“It's going to be a lot of fun,” said Juocys, noting that she, as lead, and Senneker, who plays second, will wear their Sarnia Golf and Curling Club jackets at every turn.
“We'll be representing the club,” she said.
The U.S. national curling championship runs from Feb. 14-21.