B.C.’s two junior curling teams have both returned from their trip to nationals with medals around their necks.
This is the first time since 1989 that B.C.’s junior men’s and women’s teams medalled during the same year. (1989 – Dean Joanisse and Judy Wood)
Team Daniels, with 16-year-old Sarah Daniels at the helm, earned silver medals at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario, after dispatching New Brunswick in the semi-finals to earn a place in the final. The team played a hard-fought final against Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay, battling back from a 5-2 Nova Scotia lead to tie the game in the seventh end. But a Nova Scotia deuce in the eighth and stolen points in the ninth were enough to secure the Maritimes province their win.
The silver medals were not the only accolades that the team of Sarah Daniels, Marika Van Osch, Dez Hawes, Megan Daniels and coach Katie Witt were given. Sarah and Marika were both named to the all-star team, meaning their shot percentages were the highest out of everyone playing their position at the event. Sarah shot at 81% while Marika shot at 86%. Meanwhile, Dez was awarded the Balance Plus Fair Play Award, which is an award selected by the officials given to curlers who demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Speaking after the final, Sarah said: “We’re just going to take away everything we can from this. We’ve learned so much from this competition, and we’ll push harder to get better next year.”
B.C.’s junior men’s team of Tyler Tardi, Daniel Wenzek, Jordan Tardi, Nicholas Meister and coach Paul Tardi had won all of their pool games, and fought hard in the championship round to earn a place in the semis. But it was always going to be an uphill battle. They faced Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone, 2013 Canadian champion, in Saturday’s semis. The Manitoba team won 8-3, and then followed that up with a win the next day to secure gold, dispatching Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan. It was the fourth year in a row that Manitoba has won the Canadian Junior Men’s Curling Championship.
Wenzek was also awarded a Balance Plus Fair Play award at the competition.
The last time that B.C. junior men medalled at a national championship was in 2006 when Ty Griffith won silver.
The competitive season is not over for Team Tardi. Tyler Tardi will join Canadian junior women’s champion Mary Fay in Norway for the Youth Olympics, along with another B.C. athlete, Sterling Middleton, who would normally play with Team Tardi as a fifth. The Youth Olympics run from Feb 12-21 in Lillehammer.
Meanwhile, Daniel Wenzek, Jordan Tardi and Nicholas Meister will be competing in the 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championship, which takes place in Nelson from February 10-14.