Two BC teams were awarded medals at the 2016 CIS / Curling Canada University Tournament at Kelowna Curling Club.
Corryn Brown and her Thompson Rivers University WolfPack team of third Erin Pincott, second Sam Fisher, lead Ashley Nordin and coach Allison MacInnes, took the silver medal after a close game against the University of Alberta Pandas. In men’s play Corey Chester and his University of Victoria Vikes team of third Andrew Komlodi, Second Sanjay Bowry, lead Deryk Kuny and coach Melissa Soligo were awarded a bronze medal.
The event at the Kelowna Curling Club ran from March 20-23 and also featured a third BC team – a record for the event. The UBC Okanagan team of Justin Nillson, Colton Costa, Luke Cooke, Cam Mahler and coach Jock Tyre did not make it to the championship round.
In the women’s gold medal game, it was a close one, going to an extra end.
Kelsey Rocque and her Alberta Pandas were on the board first, taking a single point in the first end.
Brown and her WolfPack took a point in the second end, with their final rock being the only one left in the house. The third end saw the Pandas score one, taking a 2-1 lead through three. The gold medal game had its first blank end in the fourth, before the ‘Pack took a point in the fifth to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the fifth end break.
The sixth was another single-point end, with Alberta taking a point to move into a 3-2 lead. The seventh end was the second left blank, a note indicative of the cautious and precise style of play directed by both Rocque and Brown in the game. Through the first seven ends of the contest for the national title, there was rarely a moment with more than two rocks in the house.
The game was tied up once again in the eighth end, then Brown’s WolfPack took their first lead of the game after stealing one in the ninth, on an early rock that they played almost the entire end to protect.
With a rock each left to play in the tenth end, TRU had three in the four foot and led by one. Skip Brown stuck her final rock in the top foot, putting four rocks in the house for the ‘Pack before Alberta’s final throw. Pandas skip Kelsey Rocque squeezed the hammer between two WolfPack rocks at the top of the four foot, and snuck it through to score one, tying the game at 4-4 and forcing an extra end.
On her final rock of the game, Brown had to play an in-turn to the four foot to push the Alberta rock back a few inches and win the game. She made the shot, and moved the Pandas’ rock in to the back of the button, but at too big of an angle, rolling off allowing Alberta to steal the final point of the game by a matter of inches.
With the win, skip Kelsey Rocque adds the title of National University Champion to her two World Junior Championships. The team also earns the right to represent Canada at the Universiade Games in Kazakhstan.
In men’s play, Corey Chester and his Vikes were beaten by the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks, the eventual gold medal winners in the semis, to drop to the bronze medal game, where they faced the Brock Badgers. They won 7-3.
With UVic being at the event for the first time, Chester was happy to have an opportunity to play for a medal.
Similar to the gold medal match on the men’s side (Golden Hawks vs Pandas), the leads and seconds for both teams in the bronze medal game were relatively even by the numbers, but they were noticeably different for the thirds and skips. As a team the Vikes curled at a solid 79%, with third Andrew Komlodi shooting 81% and Chester curling at 75%. The Badgers curled at 71% as a team, but third Jonah Mondloch and skip Eric Bradey shot 69% and 58% respectively in Wednesday afternoon’s match.
“This is the first time that UVic has been to the championships,” explained Chester. “It feels great to get here in the first place and then finish on the podium and bring back some hardware for the school.”
“We had a tough day yesterday with two losses, and obviously this morning in the semifinal,” reflected Chester. “Our coach is an Olympic bronze medalist, so we had a conversation at lunch today after we lost the semifinal and she gave us great motivation and a mindset to go out there and play hard for something. It worked; we had our best game, especially in the last four ends.”