Team Koltun places 10th to end eight-year run at junior nationals
Canadian Curling Association photo
Whitehorse’s Sarah Koltun notched her 31st national win to finish her junior curling career on Friday.
Koltun and her Yukon rink defeated Newfoundland/Labrador 10-5 to place 10th at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
The win closed a chapter spanning eight years.
“I think we’re all sad it’s over now but glad that it happened,” said Koltun. “Obviously, we were expecting a little more to come out of this weekend, but that’s just how sport is sometimes.
Sometimes it doesn’t come out the way you want it.”
Koltun, who made a record eighth appearance at the championships, finished with a 5-4 record.
It was Koltun’s fourth time placing in the top-10 at the championship since first competing in 2007 at the age of 12.
Her team placed fourth last year and eighth in 2011.
Team Koltun, which includes third Andrea Sinclair, second Patty Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan, also took wins over Nunavut, N.W.T., Northern Ontario and B.C., which went on to take silver with a loss against Alberta on Saturday.
Yukon finished with the same record as ninth place’s P.E.I., but a 7-6, extra-end loss to the island rink earlier in the championship pushed Yukon into 10th.
“All we can do is learn from it and move forward,” said Koltun, 20. “We’re lucky that we have the Scotties to go to right afterward. There’s less time to dwell on what happened and more time to look forward to what could happen next week.”
Mark O'Neill photo
Team Koltun will become the first Yukon rink to compete at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts – the Canadian women’s championship – in 13 years on Saturday in Montreal.
Koltun will also become the first curler to skip a team at the junior nationals and the Scotties in the same season. At the Scotties the team will exchange Jenna Duncan for older sister
Chelsea, who curled with Koltun at seven junior nationals before aging out at the end of last season. Team Koltun will face Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting to start the Scotties.
Yukon curler golden in mixed doubles
Team Koltun may have missed the medal round at junior nationals, but the team didn’t leave empty-handed.
Koltun second Andrea Sinclair teamed up with B.C.’s Cameron de Jong to win gold in the mixed doubles tournament portion of the nationals in Liverpool.
“Not too bad for my first time at it,” said Sinclair. “It was my first official time playing mixed doubles. We sometimes do it in practice if we have extra time.”
The pair won five consecutive games and beat Chloe McCloskey of P.E.I. and Evan Kearley of Newfoundland/Labrador 5-4 in the final.
Adding some extra Yukon presence to the team was Yukon junior men’s coach Kevin Patterson, who was made coach for the Sinclair-de Jong pair.
“The thing I found most interesting about the mixed doubles is that you can have the male or female be the first and fifth shot or the second, third and fourth,” said Patterson. “With Andrea, we pitted her against a lot of the male throwers of the opposing team. She had absolutely no problem keeping up with the boys. In fact, she beat them every time.”
Forty-four teams participated in the single-knockout tournament for curlers on teams that did not advance to championships rounds of the junior championships. The Canadian Curling Association uses a system to pair up male and female curlers from different provinces and territories.
It was two in a row for the territory in the mixed doubles tournament introduced last year. Yukon’s Mitch Young won the inaugural doubles competition with Nova Scotia’s Sarah Sears.
“It actually worked out really well,” added Sinclair. “I was hearing from the men’s teams my skip was infamous for his draw weight. Combine that with I had a good feel for the ice, it worked out really well.”
Sinclair, 20, is in her first season with Team Koltun. The Ottawa native helped Team Ontario win bronze at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.