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Bella Croisier is latest local curler to receive Spirit of Sandra scholarship

Young Sudbury curling excellence has been recognized in many a corner, including within the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, it would seem.

Earlier this month, Bella Croisier became the fourth local curler to be awarded a Spirit of Sandra Junior Scholarship, joining a group that includes Sara Guy, Megan Smith and Jamie Smith, since the award was first presented in 2013.

Skip of the ultra successful Idylwylde Golf & Country Club U18/U20 rink and a second year Forensic Sciences student at Laurentian University, Croisier receives $5000 to be split evenly between curling and educational expenses.

"It's honestly such a wonderful foundation, one that I really wanted to be able to represent," said Croisier. "It's going to really help support me, throughout the year. It's a really good way for me to promote the sport and the Sandra Schmirler Foundation."

One of the more interesting facets of the Schmirler scholarships is that recipients are required to organize a fundraising event to help raise awareness of the foundation and its work right across the country.

"It's kind of different this year, because of COVID," said Croisier. "I did have to present an idea for a fundraiser, but it will depend of the curling season this fall. We might host, in person, a bonspiel to raise awareness, but I'm also planning in case we have to do something that is remote, delivered in a different fashion."

Curling with Jamie Smith, Lauren Rajala and her younger sister Piper, Croisier and company captured a pair of national titles during the 2018-2019 season, capturing gold at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer and following that up, just a few months later, with a Canadian U18 Curling Championship banner in Sherwood Park.

Unfortunately, the pandemic derailed the team's chances of defending their crown at the 2020 nationals, a competition that was slated to take place in Sudbury this past April.

If and when the 2020-2021 curling season begins, Team Croisier will have a slightly different look, as Bella leads her rink into action with a lineup of Rachel Steele at vice, Emilie Lovitt at second, and Piper Croisier at lead.

With plans for the new-look team already undertaken when Curling Canada opened the door, last month, to 2020 U18 provincial champions to be included, automatically, to the field of the 2021 Canadian U18 Curling Championships in Timmins, the NOCA girls opted to take a pass.

"It was a really tough decision," said Croisier. "We were really grateful for the opportunity to compete at another U18 national. But because our goals for next year were to remain focused on the NOCA Scotties and the NOCA Under 20 provincials, timing-wise, it wasn't very conducive for our schedules for next year."

"It's also about schooling, with three of the four of us at university, it was just too much - and our goals were already set."

Joining Bella Croisier in the list of 2020 Spirit of Sandra Junior Scholarship award winners were Skylar Ackerman (Saskatchewan), Dustin Mikush (Alberta), Johnson Tao (British Columbia), Michael Nunn (British Columbia) and Nathan Young (Newfoundland).

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