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Defending world champion Kelsey Rocque encourages young curlers to stick with the game

Kelsey Rocque is a role model for aspiring competitive female curlers in Canada with her status as defending world junior women’s champion.

Alberta skip Kelsey Rocque is the defending world junior women’s champion and is shown here during a game against Quebec at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships at the Corner Brook Curling Club in Corner Brook Monday. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

It’s something she embraces, knowing the sport has given her so much. She hopes other young girls will keep forging ahead with the sport and set their sights high and would like to see others embrace the game like she has since she started throwing stones at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton, Alta.  

“We all have to start somewhere and you got to earn your keep, and lose a lot of games before you can start winning,” Rocque, a 20-year-old University of Alberta student, said Monday afternoon. “Don’t get discouraged and it’s amazing what the sport can give you. So never give up.”

Rocque won the world crown last year in Flims, Switzerland with Keely Brown, Taylor McDonald and Claire Tully — all of whom were in their final year of eligibility — on board for the journey.

This year she found herself looking for some girls to join forces with her and it didn’t take long for her to get them. It certainly helps when you are the defending world champ.

Her coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre and her long-time University of Alberta coach Rob Krepps put together a new crew for this year’s run at the title in Corner Brook. Third Danielle Schmiemann, lead Jessica Iles and second Holly Jamieson have been added to the mix and it appears things are going quite well, with Rocque sporting a 5-0 record after Monday’s action, which included a 7-6 victory over Emilia Gagne of Quebec and a 15-3 triumph against Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen.

She admits saying goodbye to her world championship teammates was difficult because of the time spent together, the ups and downs that come with the road to success.

But, that’s life. She now has three new teammates who she believes are keen on accomplishing some great things on the ice.

Being in Newfoundland and Labrador, chasing the repeat, is something she’s particularly excited about. She’s never been to the province and has enjoyed being near the ocean and seeing a bit of the country other than her native Alberta.

Winning back-to-back crowns won’t come without a tough test with a number of rinks ready, willing and able to challenge.

She’s enjoying being among the leaders, but she’s not going to focus on anything other than keeping her team in the chase.

“One game and one rock at a time, and hopefully we’ll be here at the end of the week,” she said.

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