North Delta’s Team Daniels are bringing home silver from the junior curling nationals after losing their last game to a dominant Team Alberta.
Competing as Team B.C., skip Sarah Daniels, third Kayla MacMillan, second Jessica Humphries, lead Sarah Loken and coach Katie Witt from Delta Thistle Curling Club in North Delta couldn’t break the unbeaten streak of Alberta skip Selena Sturmay, falling 9-6 with a stone left in the tenth end of the final game of the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert, Sask. on Sunday (Jan. 27).
A run of steals in the third through fifth ends guided the victory for Sturmay, vice-skip Abby Marks, second Kate Goodhelpsen, lead Paige Papley and coach Amanda-Dawn St. Laurent from the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.
With the win, Sturmay and Papley are provided with a rare opportunity to represent Canada twice in the same season. After competing at the 2019 World Junior Curling Championships this Feb. 16 to 23 in Liverpool, N.S., they’ll play second and alternate, respectively, on Kristin Streifel’s Canadian team at the Winter Universiade Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 2 to 12.
“It’s definitely super exciting. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m not going to be going to school a whole lot,” Sturmay, a 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Alberta, said in a press release. “But that’s okay. I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be the ride of a lifetime for sure.”
With the teams tied 1-1 at the Art Hauser Centre Sunday morning, Alberta took advantage of a missed hit by B.C. to steal one in the third end, followed by steals of two in the fourth and one in the fifth for a 5-1 lead at the halfway point of the game.
But Alberta’s lead wasn’t safe as Team Daniels mounted a solid comeback attempt by scoring a deuce in the sixth, forcing Alberta to one in the seventh and tacking on three more in the eighth to tie the game 6-6.
However, Alberta put the game out of reach with a score of three in the ninth for a 9-6 lead, and ran B.C. out of rocks in the final frame.
“We started out strong and lost a little bit in the middle ends there, but we had a little pull back in the eighth end. It’s just too bad we missed a couple shots here in nine and 10,” Daniels said in a press release.
The North Delta Reporter has reached out to Daniels for more and will update the story as soon as we hear back.
Alberta is the first women’s team to win the Canadian juniors tournament with an undefeated record since Rachel Homan of Ontario did so in 2010.
Only six teams had previously ran the table at the national junior women’s championship since the inaugural event in 1971. In addition to Homan, those undefeated teams are: Cathy Overton of Manitoba (1989), Cathy King of Alberta (1978), Patricia Crimp of Saskatchewan (1975), Janet Crimp of Saskatchewan (1973) and Chris Pidzarko of Manitoba (1972).
“It definitely feels surreal right now. It definitely hasn’t kicked in that we’re Team Canada but I’m sure it will within the next couple of days. I’m just over the moon happy right now,” Sturmay said.
Alberta second Goodhelpsen is representing Canada at the world juniors for the second time in her career. She won the national junior title as second for Alberta’s Streifel in 2017 and won bronze at the world championship that year in Gangneung, South Korea.
“Going into the week I felt a little bit of pressure to repeat; second chance at it and last chance at it,” Goodhelpsen said in a press release. “But being able to take everything from what we had done before and really help out the rest of the team in any way I could, whether it’s ‘hey there’s cameras now, how do we deal with it?’ and just little bits of experience, little tidbits that I can give them to help ease their nerves and stuff and honestly just calm my own nerves.”
The Sturmay rink also represents the University of Alberta Golden Bears and will attempt to qualify for the 2019 U-Sports/Curling Canada University Championships in Fredericton, N.B. this March 15 to 19.