It’s been a busy couple weeks for Lacombe native Chantele Broderson and her University of Alberta curling teammates.
Fresh off a bronze medal performance in South Korea at the World Junior Curling Championships, the Pandas clinched a spot March 5 in the U Sport Curling National Championship slated for later this month.
The appearance in South Korea at the end of February was a once in a lifetime trip for Broderson, with the off-ice experience coming close to topping the bronze medal win.
“We started off pretty strong, went through a few bumps in the road. but managed to pull out the win in the bronze medal after a tough loss in the semi-final,” Broderson said.
“It was a long week and spreading it out to one game a week definitely made the days go by slower. It was a great experience to play all these teams, because I had really never played any of them before. Met a lot of new people and curled against a lot of people I didn’t really know.”
Along with co-skip Kristen Streifel, second Kate Goodhelpsen, lead Brenna Bilassy, Broderson said the path to bronze was particularly difficult after a 12-3 semi-final loss to Scotland.
What came out of that loss was another unforgettable moment, as their coach suggested a team-building exercise to help prepare for the bronze medal match that came hours after the semi-final.
“We all decided we needed something to distract us and get us loose for the next game,” Broderson said.
“So we walked around and blindfolded one another, had to guide (our teammates) around the building. Everyone was looking at us like, ‘crazy Canadians’ but it was kind of funny.”
The bronze medal game, which happened to be against the host nation was a tense one, but with a home-crowd that did well to support Canada, too.
“We went out and knew that we wanted to bring back a medal for Canada.
“Stayed together as a team for one more game even though we were exhausted and running on fumes,” Broderson said of their 6-3 win over South Korea.
“Playing against Korea, the crowd was amazing, cheering for both teams. Really cool game to play.”
Just a week later, hit with a bit of jet lag the Pandas defended their Western University Curling Championship title with a 9-8 win over University of Regina.
Broderson and her teammates will look to capture the third straight Canadian title when they travel to Thunder Bay, Ont., for the U Sport Curling Championship from March 18-22.