Finding a small handful of elementary students blessed with the natural athleticism required to succeed within the realm of a few different sports is not all that difficult.
Locating one of the province's top young curlers who also happens to excel at the shot put - well, that's a tad bit more unique. Meet Tanner Horgan, less than a month away from his grade 8 graduation at MacLeod Public School.
Of course, if you follow sports in Sudbury and curling more specifically, the name will ring a bell or two. Older sisters Jennifer and Tracy are among the most accomplished female curlers in the province, while Tanner and younger brother Jacob continue to enjoy the teachings of their father, Gerry, a very well-respected curling coach in the area.
The tie-in to curling was natural. The exposure to other sports for Horgan, not so much so. "It's just been really lately that I've gotten involved in other sports, like volleyball and basketball with the school teams, and the shot put," said Tanner.
A quick glance at the 14 year old well spoken young man might undermine the fact that his passion lies with curling, and for very good reason. "I just love curling, it's the thing I do best," Horgan acknowledged.
"I like the precision of the game. It's a little different than other sports," he explained. "With something like basketball, it's go, go, go. In curling, you might have three minutes before you throw your next stone."
While both of his older sisters adjused very quickly to the demands of the sport, Tanner nearly reached the point of giving up. "When I was just starting out, I was using the broom (for balance)," he said.
"But then my dad introduced me to the sliding bar (stabilizer). That first year sort of sparked my talent, because the balance was a non-issue and I could focus on my shot-making," stated Horgan.
"If I didn't have that, I probably wouldn't be curling today." With a solid handle on his technique now in place, Horgan spends plenty of time on the mental aspect of the game, both in terms of developing his strategy as well as honing his ability to focus.
Teaming up with schoolmates Ethan Urban, Patrick Huska and Jacob Horgan, Tanner led his team to the title of the Timbits Provincial Championships in Parry Sound, one year after finishing second in the same event.
Despite moving from a sport in which he truly excels to others where he is simply very good, Horgan is able to maintain a solid sense of perspective. "I'm new to the other sports, so it's kind of expected that I would not be as good," he said.
"I've been curling for nine years, but only playing volleyball for three, basketball for just a few months." Still, on June 19th, Horgan will be among those elementary athletes invited back for the Rainbow Board Champions Meet, after claiming first place in the shot put in a preliminary meet, sailing the ball almost 12 metres.
Just a small part of the sporting contrast of talent that Tanner Horgan possesses.
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