by Phil Ambroziak

Carpenter High School is hosting regional playdowns this weekend, but another young curler from Meadow Lake has already taken it to the next level and beyond.

Andie Kurjata – who is currently in her fourth year at Grant MacEwen University in Edmonton where she is pursuing her bachelor of arts with a major in sociology and criminology – recently joined her teammates to capture first place at the 2019 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Curling Championships. The event took place Feb. 22-24 in Olds, AB.

“This is our provincials, and we qualified following a fall regional event, as well as a winter regional event,” Kurjata, who serves as second on the team, remarked. “At regionals, we only lost one out of 11 games, so we entered the ACAC Curling Championships ranked number one.”

The recent provincial event featured four teams in total and, for Kurjata and her peers, it was their second victory of this nature. They won the event in 2016 and were also contenders last year, but lost out in the finals.

“I’m really excited we’ve got back to the point where we are successful – this year’s win has sort of redeemed us in a way,” she added.

The win also means Kurjata and her team will represent Alberta at the 2019 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Curling National Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick March 15-19.

“Last year, we just missed out on winning the bronze medal at nationals,” Kurjata continued. “There are a few things we still need to work on, so that will be our focus the next couple of weeks.”

Kurjata’s teammates include skip Ashton Simard, third Erin Wells, as well as Taitan Hagglund and Rebecca Bartz who alternate as lead.
At the recent ACAC event, Kurjata was also voted best second by her fellow curlers. In spite of her success at the university level, however, she still enjoys Meadow Lake.

“I love coming home,” she noted. “I spend so much time at the local curling rink whenever I can. It’s nice to see how much has changed, as well as how much has stayed the same. I was on the provincial championship curling team in 2015 when I attended Carpenter High School, and they have our photo on the wall at the rink. It’s also nice to see Val and Ed Richter who always go above and beyond to make the local rink a great place to curl. I love catching up with them when I’m in town.”

According to Kendra Paramchuk, one of Kurjata’s coaches when she curled for CHS, everyone at the high school and at the Meadow Lake Curling Club are proud of Kurjata’s accomplishments.

“Andie has always had a love for the sport and it’s great to see where this love and commitment have taken her,” Paramchuk said. “She knows what it’s like to lose and she knows what it’s like to win, and that is what’s likely helped her be such an important part of her team at such a high calibre. Andie has had great success and we wish her all the best.”