Curler Julianna Mackenzie is heading to her third national championship later this month, after bagging the provincial title in Airdrie on Oct. 23.
The 19-year-old lead for Team Crough, based out of the Crestwood club in Edmonton, helped her team to the U21 Alberta provincial championship in Airdrie on Oct. 23. The rink won all but one of their games en route to the gold-medal final at the Airdrie Curling Club, before overcoming Team Booth 7-5 in the gold-medal match.
As a result of their provincial-winning performance, Team Crough will be Alberta’s representative at the upcoming national U21 women’s championships in Saskatoon from Nov. 22 to 28.
“It’s coming up really fast,” said Mackenzie, who previously competed at both the Canada Winter Games and the U18 women’s national championships in 2019. “The turnaround is really short. It’s finally sunk in and we’re just super excited to be able to represent Alberta once again.”
Mackenzie previously competed with the St. Albert-based Team Bakos, and finished fifth at the 2019 U18 women’s national championships. The rink also finished in fifth place at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, with a 7-3 overall record.
A 2020 graduate of St. Timothy’s High School in Cochrane, Mackenzie said the team’s strengths lie in their communication skills, as well as their ability to overcome adversity within a game.
“We’ve worked a lot with our coach this season on strategy, and just having the ability to compete among the best,” she said. “Not only in junior [bonspiels], but we’ve been competing a lot against women and learning a lot from their games, and incorporating it into our own [performances]. That’s helped us improve a lot this season.”
Outside of curling, Mackenzie is a second-year student in Bow Valley College’s interior decorating program, and is working part-time at Benjamin Moore in both Cochrane and Calgary.
She added her objective in curling is to compete for Canada at a future Olympic Winter Games.
“That’s kind of like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it only happens every four years, so that’s definitely one of my long-term goals,” she said.
There will be plenty of motivation to do well at nationals, she said, as the winner of the bonspiel in Saskatoon will qualify for the U21 World Championships, which will be held in Sweden in March 2022.