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Cochrane mixed curling doubles team win U21 provincials

Subasthika Thangadurai and Ky Macaulay, who play out of the Cochrane Curling Club, came home from the U21 Alberta provincial tournament over the weekend as champions

Subasthika Thangadurai and Ky Macaulay are this year's mixed-doubles provincial champions in the U21 division.

The duo, who play out of the Cochrane Curling Club, came out on top among 34 other teams at the Alberta provincial tournament in triple knockout play at the Thistle Curling Club in Edmonton this past weekend. 

"We were expecting some tough competition," said Thangadurai. "The ice conditions were a little interesting to read, but we picked up on it pretty fast."

The team faced off against the Airdrie-based team of Myla Plett and Evan Crough in the final draw, winning with a score of 9-5.

They were pitted against the team in a final just a few weeks before at an event in Sherwood Park, where the Cochrane team narrowly beat Plett and Crough.

"That was like a rematch from the last mixed-doubles events final we had with them," said Macaulay. "It was really cool to see them again because are good friends with them.

"It was a close game and we just beat them on a couple inches to come out on top."

Thangadurai said the biggest challenge she and her teammate of three years contended with was remaining consistent in their play and keeping the lines of communication open. 

"That really helped us keep our spirits up, even if we got down a couple points here and there," she said.

"We didn't want to underestimate any of our competition, there's a lot of good teams, and we know a lot of the teams — we are friends with a lot of the people who played."

Thangadurai and Macaulay were joined at provincials by other Cochrane-based curlers including Jessica Wrtychowski and Zoe Cinnamon.

Thangadurai plays lead on Wrtychowski's women's team and Cinnamon is a former mixed-doubles teammate of Macaulay. 

The team met the duo of Cinnamon and Benjamin Morin in the provincial semi final, where they beat them 9-3.

"Curling is such a close knit community and we all know each other," said Macaulay. "Anyone could have taken that provincial title, we're all good curlers and we were all there for the same thing."

Team coach Gord Copithorne said it was phenomenal to see the level of professionalism demonstrated by so many of the young curlers in attendance.

"Their level of composure was extremely high," he said. "It exceeded what I expected from a bunch of kids between 18 and 20 years old."

Competing on a stage like provincials, it's easy to let emotions get in the way, Copithorne added.

There was a moment near the end of the final where Macaulay was about to make a complicated shot and his coach reminded him where he was. 

"Ky's answer was 'It's all good, I'm chilling,'" laughed Copithorne. "It was a funny thing to say in the moment but the message was profound."

Thangadurai, who is a 20-year-old student at the University of Calgary, described their provincial victory as the "cherry on top" of what has been a great tenure in junior curling.

Though she not be eligible to play in the junior division next year, Thangadurai said she has plans to continue in the adult category, having been an avid curler since she was in the fifth grade.

Macaulay, who attends Mount Royal University, will be searching for a new partner to continue his competitive junior career with and said he will miss meeting with his teammate one or twice a week, both on and off of the ice.

"I couldn't have asked for a better teammate," he said. "We have the same passion and the same drive for curling and school."

Copithorne said he felt it was worth acknowledging Cochrane's presence at the tournament, given how many talented players were in attendance and how far some of the other locals made it.

"There are some very strong competitors coming out of a small little town like Cochrane," he said. "The whole community deserves a compliment, if you will, for being able to put it all together."