New Dominion’s Lauren Lenentine and her teammates are staying together.
The world junior championship-winning squad of skip Mackenzie Zacharias, third Karlee Burgess, second Emily Zacharias and lead Lenentine will all move up to women’s competition next season. Lenentine and Emily Zacharias both had junior eligibility left.
“We knew that we had a really good season and we just kind of wanted to see what else we could do, so we made the decision to all move up,” Lenentine said Sunday. “We both thought it would be best if we just continued with our team because we did have really good chemistry and I think that we can keep pushing ourselves.”
The Altona, Man.,-based team, which includes the Zacharias sisters, plus Nova Scotian Burgess, recently announced its decision on Twitter.
As our season has officially come to an end, we are super excited to announce that we be sticking together for next season! After a great season together, on and off the ice, we are so excited to see what the future holds for us. pic.twitter.com/89f6v791CJ— Team Zacharias (@TeamZacharias) March 16, 2020
Manitoba has a wealth of strong women’s teams, including those skipped by Kerri Einarson, Tracy Fleury and Jennifer Jones.
“We’re definitely in the toughest curling province, so we are going to be in tough for a little while, but just being able to play those teams regularly, I think that's going to be really beneficial because we can learn from that,” said Lenentine.
While not many Islanders get a chance to go to a world junior curling championship, the 19-year-old has done it twice and has the hardware to prove it.
She earned her second world title in February in Russia.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said in a recent interview. “As a kid we dream of putting the Maple Leaf on our backs and to have been able to do it two times, it’s literally incredible.”
Lenentine said her two world junior experiences were a bit different.
She was added as the alternate by the Nova Scotia-based rink, skipped by Kaitlyn Jones, that won in Scotland in 2018.
The following year, she moved to Halifax and curled with the squad while attending university. After the 2019 season, Burgess reached out to the Zacharias sisters to see if there was interest in forming a team. They were and before long the two Maritimers were enrolling at the University of Manitoba.
Lenentine said having Burgess with her helped make the transition smoother.
“Playing with her for the first time last year we became really good friends, so having her here in Winnipeg has made this so much easier,” she said.
Lenentine skipped teams to back-to-back P.E.I. junior titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18. She played third for Jones in 2018-19 and threw lead stones and was the vice-skip for Zacharias this season.
“I think it made me a better all-around player,” she said of playing multiple positions. “It really made me appreciate the game more because I have done all aspects of it.”
Lenentine, who became the first curler to represent three provinces at the Canadian junior championship, said she has grown tremendously in the past couple of seasons.
“I’ve had so many opportunities since I first joined the Nova Scotia team and I’ve gained a lot of experience.”