Chilling with friends or doing homework was how Mackenzie Mitchell spent her free time growing up, but things changed three years ago when she threw her first curling stone.
She’s now one of the young rink rats who throw rocks every chance they get, and she couldn’t be any happier.
The 16-year-old Irishtown-Summerside native has come a long way in a short period of time.
Only three years into the sport, Mitchell’s foursome out of the Corner Brook Curling Club will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
Her rink, which also includes Ainsleigh Piercey, Mikayla O’Reilly and Stephenville native Sarah McNeil-Lamswood, posted a 4-1 record at the provincial playdowns in St. John’s over the weekend.
“I just love the sport,” Mitchell said Tuesday when asked about why curling became such a big deal in her life.
She caught the curling bug. She loves how the game requires a lot of strategic thinking and a chance to be part of a team working toward a common goal.
Getting a chance to represent her province at such a prestigious event for aspiring athletes in the country means a lot to her.
She had no idea what the future would hold when she wasn’t so smooth on the ice in the early going, but she’s thankful she made the commitment. It was a big adjustment, considering the mindset of the girls when they started was simply all about a bit of recreation and a few laughs with the girls.
“I never thought it would happen,” she said. “We’ve put a lot of time in. We’ve been at the rink every day for the last three years, really.”
The girls are serious about the opportunity. They plan to hit the gym on a consistent basis and have decided they will participate in a number of tournaments and clinics over the summer to prepare for the big test of competing against the best from coast to coast.
“I think it’s going to be good for us because in Newfoundland there’s some good competition, but once you leave Newfoundland the competition is not even comparable, so I’m excited about seeing some other teams, and hopefully try to see if we can hold up against them,” she said.