An eight-year break from competitive curling apparently did little to diminish Randi Ludwar’s skill on the ice or passion for the game.
Ludwar’s Kelowna foursome was in fine form on the weekend at the Kelowna Curling Club, securing a berth at next month’s B.C. Scotties women’s curling championship in Victoria.
Ludwar, third Lori Seemann, second Erinn Bartlett and lead Jill McIntyre rang up three straight wins, including a 6-4 verdict over Royal City’s Kayte Gyles in the A event final at the open qualifier to earn one of three spots to provincials.
Ludwar, who just put the team together this fall, said outcome of the qualifier exceeded all expectations.
“It was a nice surprise,” said Ludwar, 26. “Our first season being together, we thought it might be more of a practise season but it turns out we’ve been pretty competitive. Things ended up coming together a little faster, so it was nice to be able to do well at this event and we’re excited to be going to provincials.”
Ludwar and Bartlett grew up and curled together in Grand Forks, winning a number of high school championships as well as a gold medal at the 2008 BC Winter Games.
The two then went on to capture a bronze medal at the U18 International Curling Championships later that year in Winnipeg.
While living and working in Alberta between 2010 and 2015, Ludwar had pretty much put curling on the back burner until she moved back west to Kelowna two years ago.
This season, Ludwar and her team have been exposed to a new level of competition as members of the Kelowna men’s super league.
“We haven’t won that many games, but it’s helped our game a lot,” Ludwar said of competing against men’s teams. “Men tend to play a more aggressive style, they’ll try trickier, harder shots you don’t see as often in the women’s game. It’s been really good competition for us.”
Ludwar and her teammates are now in preparation mode for the B.C. women’s curling championship, Jan. 2 to 7 in Victoria. The provincial winner will represent B.C. at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts national championship, Jan. 27 to Feb. 4 in Penticton.
“They don’t give you much time, it’s coming up pretty quick, so we’re a little nervous but excited,” she said. “This is the closest we’ve actually been to having a chance to get to the Scotties. I feel like we’re in a good zone right now, so we want to go as far as we can.”
Royal City Kayte Gyles and Nanaimo’s Kesa Van Osch also earned berths at the qualifier and will join Ludwar’s team at provincials.