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Thanks to donors, we did it!

We did it! After so many years, so many challenges and the hours and hours of hard work, we are national champions!

But let me go back to the beginning and how we got here and make sure all of you understand how the For The Love of Curling Scholarship helped me and will help countless other athletes in the future with your continued support.

Stratford, Ont. Jan 31 2016. Canadian Junior Curling Championship. Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead and For the Love of Curling Scholarship recipient, Janique LeBlanc, coach Andrew Atherton, Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

Stratford, Ont. Jan 31 2016. Canadian Junior Curling Championship. Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead and For the Love of Curling Scholarship recipient, Janique LeBlanc, coach Andrew Atherton (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

I am a first-year nursing student at Université de Moncton and I have been curling for 11 years. Mary Fay and Karlee Burgess have been by my side since the age of 12, along with our dedicated coach, Andrew Atherton. This year, Kristin Clarke joined our team, throwing third stones, and has been a great fit.

Nova Scotia lead Janique LeBlanc, third Kristin Clarke, Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

Nova Scotia lead Janique LeBlanc, third Kristin Clarke, Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

Leading up to the Canadian Juniors, I can definitely say that we were driven to work hard to ensure that we would be ready to compete, both physically and mentally. My team, Team Fay, but now known as TEAM CANADA 🙂 , began working towards this year in the spring.

We trained regularly with the experts at the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic and at home in our local gyms.  We met with Lori, our mental performance coach, and we got together as a team for some bonding exercises as we worked to incorporate Kristin into the mix.

As the season began we continued with all the training and added in practice on weekends and regular weekday practices, along with league games. That is a lot to take on for a first-year university student!

Imagine the added stress of a job on top of this schedule! In large part because of the For the Love of Curling scholarship, I didn’t have to get a part-time job. Without your support, my life would be that much harder and I wouldn’t be able to curl at this level.

Once we arrived in Stratford, we quickly fell into a great routine.  In the end, I think we found a great balance to perform at our best, and to enjoy the event.

There were ups and downs for our team, but as we always do, we stayed calm and focused on the next shot.

Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, gets her hugs from teammates third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess after guiding her Chester Nova Scotia squad to a 9-5 victory over British Columbia in the woman's final. michael burns photo

Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, gets her hugs from teammates third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess after guiding her Chester Nova Scotia squad to a 9-5 victory over British Columbia in the woman’s final. (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

In the final Kristin, who made the second all-star team in her very first trip to nationals, helped bail us out in the eighth end with a scary looking shot that left BC lying four. But that created space for us to get some rocks into good positions. After Karlee and I settled Mary’s last rock into the four-foot we had a two-point lead heading to the ninth end.  From there, we stole two more points and were able to hit out the 10th end for our very first national title.

We are all back home now, working out the details for our trip to Denmark in March. We are also excited to announce that Sarah Daniels, skip of Team BC, will be joining us as our alternate player. We cannot wait to welcome Sarah as part of our team, and I can definitely say that was a pretty easy decision, Sarah’s name came immediately to us.

I still can’t believe I will be wearing my first Maple Leaf. 

I am so privileged to have the opportunity to represent all of you and so appreciative of the support you have provided especially through this scholarship.  Please continue to support the For the Love of Curling scholarship so many more young athletes can have some of the wonderful opportunities that I have had.

Thank you!

Janique LeBlanc
Lead, Team Fay/Team Canada

Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead Janique LeBlanc, hold the trophy after capturing the woman's jr. Canadian championship after defeating B.C. 9-5 in the woman's final. Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay, third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead Janique LeBlanc, hold the trophy after capturing the Junior Women’s Canadian Championship after defeating B.C. 9-5 in the Women’s final. (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

 

Curling Canada doesn’t want promising young curlers to have to make a choice between curling and school. You make education and curling possible!

With your generous support, we can help more students pursue their athletic dreams while achieving academic success. With a donation today to the For the Love of Curling scholarship program, you can make education and curling possible for students across Canada.