Five is a number that sounds really good to Stephenville native Ryan McNeil-Lamswood.
McNeil-Lamswood, serving as skip for a townie foursome out of the Re/Max Centre in St. John’s, earned his fifth trip to a national curling event by winning the provincial Under-18 men’s curling crown this past weekend on the comfort of familiar ice at the Caribou Curling Club in Stephenville.
In his final year of Under-18 eligibility and a shot at nationals on the line, McNeil-Lamswood, with third Coleton Vriesendorp, second James Trickett and lead Alex Phillips welcoming the west coast wonder to the mix, won the provincial championship with a 6-4 win over Nathan Young, also curling out of the Re/Max Centre.
Lamswood McNeil finished the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 4-1 record, the only blemish coming by way of a 6-2 loss to Young, who finished first in the standings with five-straight wins in the round-robin.
McNeil Lamswood has represented Newfoundland and Labrador at the national junior curling tournament on three occasions and earlier this year played mixed doubles on the national stage.
“I’m always really proud when I get to wear Newfoundland colours and represent Newfoundland on such a big stage,” he said. “It’s always an honour to really do your best just for your province and see how you stack up against all the other provinces.”
The 17-year-old Stephenville native admits he felt good about competing for the title because he throws rocks at the Caribou Curling Club every other day and always finds it settling to be familiar with the atmosphere at the club.
He didn’t put any pressure on himself or the team when they went into the final against Young. He just focused on giving his team a chance at winning and he feels good knowing everything worked out in his favour.
He also knew it was his last year of eligibility at the Under-18 age bracket so he just wanted to soak up the experience as much as he could.
He spent most of his competitive curling career playing against the guys he teamed up with for the run at the championship, but he believes the group developed amazing chemistry after all hands welcomed him as one of the boys from the first rock thrown.
“We got along so well on and off the ice that it kind of worked out really well,” he said.
McNeil-Lamswood will wear Newfoundland and Labrador’s crest at the national Under-18 men’s curling championship March 10-18 in St. Andrew’s, N.B.
Maybe No. 5 will be a magical moment for a guy who is really making a habit of taking his game to another level.