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Team Brandwood takes important lessons from provincials

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Team Brandwood takes important lessons from provincials

BELLEVILLE - Jan 30, 2017 - by Brock Ormond

A Kitchener, Ont.-based curling team featuring a Belleville native has had a whirlwind 2016-17 season.

Team Brandwood, skipped – a curling term for led – by Chelsea Brandwood of Kitchener, Ont., managed to win a competitive qualifying round to reach the Under-21 Women’s Provincials in Russell, Ont., southeast of Ottawa. In the qualifying round, the team had to come from behind in the “B-Final” over a unit from St. Catharine’s to move on. At provincials, the team went 4-3 through seven games in the preliminary round before being eliminated. Team member Lindsay Kastrau, who plays second shooter, said the tournament was a gratifying experience.

“We started the week off strong and were executing well, but a few losses put us into a 3 way tie for the final playoff spot. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on that opportunity and we were eliminated,” the  Ancaster native explained.

“Looking back on it now though, it was a great event and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to play with the team at the event,” she added.

Other members of the team are Belleville native Kayla McMillan (who throws lead stones) and Lauren Horton (vice/third). Todd Brandwood, father of skip Chelsea, coaches the group. Kastrau explains how the team came together for the season.

“I had played with our skip, Chelsea, the previous season and we were looking for two new players to complete the team. Kayla and Lauren had played on separate teams but were both looking for a new spot. As two well known, respected curlers, Kayla and Lauren seemed like a perfect fit to round out our team.”

Kastrau has been competing against McMillan since 2013 and says she admires her sheer drive  and determination to succeed in all facets of the sport.

“Kayla is a very dedicated athlete. She spends the majority of her time training and preparing for competition, on and off the ice. She knows the strategy of the game very well and has an exceptional understanding of tactics. Because of her dedication, her execution is something most curlers strive to achieve. Kayla is encouraging, positive and an all around great teammate.”

Kastrau says she and her team had to battle through adversity and some trying times this year. She says that this has made her stronger and more complete as a athlete.

“I have learned many things over my curling career, but something I learned from this season specifically was the importance of mental strength and the power of believing in yourself and your teammates,” Kastrau said.

“A lot of the time, athletes believe the strongest (physical) teams are the ones that succeed, but being mentally strong is just as important. Having a sense of self belief when things aren’t going our way in a game helps keep us positive and believing that we can achieve anything.

This season will be the one and only for the team, as both Brandwood and Horton will be moving up to the women’s division next year.

“I wish them all the best moving forward with their curling careers. Kayla and I still have 2 years left in the U21 division and will keep striving to reach our goals in that time. The four of us have become extremely good friends and will cherish the memories we made this season,” Kastrau said.