Grade 11 student Lasalle Secondary School student Lauren Rajala has been selected to represent Team Canada in curling at the third annual Youth Winter Olympics, Jan. 9-22 in Champery, Switzerland.
Rajala garnered national attention this past season, while curling out of the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club in Sudbury.
Rajala won gold with Team Northern Ontario at the Canadian Under 18 Championships, before making it to the top of the podium with Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games.
Team Canada was selected based on applications from all age-eligible players across the country, with preference given to participants of the 2019 Canada Winter Games and the 2019 Canadian Under 18 Boys and Girls Championships.
“The quality of applications simply blew the selection committee away,” said Helen Radford, Curling Canada Manager, Youth Curling and NextGen Coach.
“While it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to the four team members, it was also encouraging to see the passion and commitment of all applicants.”
Team Canada applicants were assessed based on their curling skill, community leadership and academic achievement. In addition to this testing, athletes were asked to submit a 500-word essay outlining why they wanted to participate, what it would mean for their personal goals, and what it would mean for curling in Canada.
“It’s quite an honour to be chosen to represent our great country at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics,” said Rajala. “I’m excited to see what this experience has in store for me as an athlete.”
Rajala maintains a high academic standing, in addition to her accolades on ice, finishing last semester with a 95 per cent average.
Looking ahead, Rajala said in a press release that she hopes to represent Ontario at national events like the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and Canada at future Olympic games.
Joining Rajala at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics, are Jaedon Neuert of Manitoba, Emily Deschenes of Ontario, and Nathan Young of Newfoundland.