It’s a neck-and-neck race for the top spots in the Optimist U18 Provincial Curling Championships at the Salmon Arm Curling Centre. Both the boy’s and girl’s division feature eight of the best youth curling teams in the province, vying for the championship title and a chance to go to New Brunswick for the national championships.
The top three teams from both divisions are keeping a steady pace with each other, coming strong off the hack and throwing stones with precision weight to take the competition off the button. Coming into the fourth day of competition the top teams are looking like they have secured their spots in the semi-finals, save for any dramatic upset by opponents determined to secure their own place in the finals.
In the boy’s division the top team as of the morning of March 16 is Team Ballard of Royal City and Coquitlam curling clubs, made up of Dawson Ballard, Hayato Sato, Joshua Miki, Troy Chong and coach Brian Miki. Ballard is undefeated thus far, sitting at a 6-0 record after three days of competition.
Bringing up second place is Team Colwell, a combined team from Vernon and Salmon Arm featuring Erik Colwell, Andrew Cowell, Adam Raber, Ben Morin, Gray Simms and coach Dale Hofer. Team Colwell has a 5-1 record so far, with their single loss at the hands of first-place team Ballard.
In third for the boy’s division is Team McCrady, made up of Royal City curlers’ Matthew McCrady. Brandon Reimer, Brenin Moore, Jacob Umbach and coach Will Sutton. Much like Team Colwell, McCrady is sitting at a 5-1 record so far in the championships, being bested only by the top-spot Team Ballard.
In the girl’s bracket the first-place team as of March 16 is Team Cotter of Vernon, sitting undefeated with a 6-0 record after three days of competition. Team Cotter is made up of Jaelyn Cotter, daughter of seven-time provincial men’s team winner Jim Cotter (who serves as coach), as well as teammates Kaila Buchy, Katelyn McGillivray and Cassidy Schwaerzle.
Bringing up second is Team Taylor of Royal City and Tunnel Town curling clubs, with Jensen Taylor, Cole Meredith, Keira McCcoy, Chelsea Taylor and coaches Brian Cole and Suzanne Malfair. Taylor has a 5-2 record in their matches so far to secure their second place spot.
Team Royea of Langley, featuring Everly Royea, Ardis Mellor-Laing, Tanis Short, Madeline Britz, Kimberley Bonneau and coach Ken Britz sit in third place for the girl’s bracket with a 4-3 record so far at the championships.
March 16 features two draws in both division to decide the team’s that will advance to the semi-finals March 17. The first draw is underway now, with the second draw hitting the ice at 2:00 p.m..
The semi-finals kick off March 17 with the first draw at 10 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m.. The final draw for both divisions is at 11 a.m. March 18 to decide the Optimist U18 Provincial Championships.