By Woodard, Dale on February 25, 2020.
It’s a crazy sport, that mixed doubles curling.
But this much is certain: the Calgary rink of Brittany Tran and Aaron Sluchinski are making the adjustment just fine.
They’ll now take that giant learning curve to the national level after defeating fellow Calgary rink Gregg Hamilton and Kayla Skrlik 9-4 in the Curling Alberta Provincial Mixed Doubles gold medal game Sunday afternoon at the Lethbridge Curling Club.
“That’s crazy,” said Tran, who curls out of the Calgary Curling Club, while Sluchinski plays out of the Glencoe Curling Club. “I haven’t won provincials in a long time, so I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get to the national event. I have never been to the mixed doubles nationals so this is all a really great experience for us.”
The Tran/Sluchinski rink stole three in the second end for a 4-0 lead before Hamilton/Skrlik scored two in the third and stole another in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-3.
But another three-ender in the fifth gave Tran/Sluchinski some breathing room and a 7-3 lead on their way to the win that sends them to Portage La Prairie, Man. for the 2020 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship March 17-22.
“It was just getting our rocks in good spots,” said Tran, who plays with Skrlik in women’s in Calgary. “Mixed doubles is a crazy game. So it’s just making sure your rocks are above the tee line and getting good angles.
“Aaron made a couple of really good hits to help us get out of a little bit of trouble then we had a shot for three, so that was really helpful.”
Tran played in one mixed doubles event last year. This is Sluchinski’s season playing the format.
“So it’s definitely all the learning curve and taking it one shot at a time and trying to learn from every game and from our opponents when we can. We just try to get our rocks in better spots. It’s crazy. The dynamics are definitely different, so learning how to talk to each other and how to communicate is key on any curling team. So that was definitely beneficial for us coming in here. We played an event last weekend to get that practice and I think that really helped us play well here this weekend.”
This is Skrlik and Hamilton’s first year of competing.
“I think we beat our expectations this week,” said Skrlik. “We are a first-year team, so coming out and playing and being in a provincial final is always an honour. It was great to be out there, especially against Brittany. She is my teammate in women’s, so it’s great to watch her win even though I lose.”
Hamilton has enjoyed his first year competing in doubles.
“It’s a lot of fun and a completely different game than the traditional game, which takes a little bit of getting used to,” he said. “But I had a lot of fun curling with Kayla and I think we did pretty well this week. We just missed a couple too many shots, but I think we’re both proud of where we got to and we both had lots of fun, which is why we entered.”
Meanwhile, Tran and Sluchinski have a national event to head to.
“It would be really great to qualify,” said Tran. “It’s an amazing field there, so we’re just going to take the experience and try to have fun and get some wins along the way.”
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