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Stephenville curlers excited about chance to compete on national stage

Ryan McNeil Lamswood knew a run at the provincial crown was within reach, but it becomes somewhat surreal when it actually unfolds in your favour.

The Caribou Curling Club’s Greg Smith foursome includes, from left, skip Greg Smith, third Ryan McNeil Lamswood, second Kyle Barron, lead Craig Laing and coach Scott Lamswood. — Photo by Marcheta Gallant

McNeil Lamswood, a 14-year-old Stephenville native, is all smiles today because he is a provincial curling champion who will get a chance to shine on the national stage in a couple of weeks.

The host Caribou Curling Club, with St. John’s native Greg Smith in the skip role, posted a perfect 6-0 record en route to claiming top honours at the 2015 provincial Under-21 men’s curling championship Monday night in Stephenville. McNeil Lamswood, in the third position, second Kyle Barron and lead Craig Laing, under coach Scott Lamswood won the title with a 7-3 win over Andrew Taylor of the St. John’s Curling Club.

The foursome will now represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2015 national junior men’s curling championship Jan. 24 to Feb. 1 at the Corner Brook Curling Club.

“You can practice all you want, you can work as hard as you can, but to actually have the results you wanted is an amazing feeling,” McNeil Lamswood said Monday, a day after the team celebrated the championship run with an ice cream at the local McDonald’s.

Going undefeated wasn’t something he saw in the cards before the tournament opened. But, he thought his team could contend if they came up with a solid effort and took it one rock at a time.

“Going undefeated the whole tournament that’s something you can never really expect,”he said. “It just takes a whole lot of hard work  and determination to make it happen and that’s what we did.”

He thought all hands came up with a consistent effort and they started to believe in themselves as the tournament went on and the wins piled up.

“The sweepers held the line on the shots that they needed to and we made the shots when we really needed to and that was a big factor,” he said.

Barron never expected to go undefeated. He was pretty well lost for words when asked about the experience.

He just knows he feels great about being a champion. And, he knows curling with the boys at the national level is something to get pumped up about.

“We’re all shocked and we can’t wait to represent our province on home land,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and gladly it went our way.”

The boys played on the Atlantic stage in the Under-18 division so they have an idea of how cool it will be to play against the best from coast to coast.

But, to be able to do it with the support of the hometown fans is something they can’t wait to experience.

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