A promising group of young curlers are exceeding expectations on their way to qualify to play in the 2020 BC Winter Games.
Members of the U16 team in the Thompson Okanagan Inter City Junior Curling League will be playing for the chance to compete in the BC Winter Games in a bonspiel tournament next year in Penticton, Jan. 11-12.
Ryan Cowell, age 15, Nolan Beck, 12, Kaiden Beck, 13, and skip Austin Tomlinson, 12, have more than a decade of curling experience between them.
Scott Beck, father to Nolan and Kaiden, says the boys are working above and beyond to prepare for the deciding bonspiel. While the prospect of playing at the games is an enticing one, Beck maintains the provincial competition is not what his son’s training is entirely centred on.
“Although they went into the season with the objective to improve, work hard and make the Winter Games – that’s not the focus,” Beck said. “That would be a bi-product of how they grow and play as a team this year.”
As the BC Winter Games are held every two years, three of the four teammates have two more shots at the games.
“They are an incredibly coachable group of boys; there’s a lot of life lessons that are being learned out of this – a lot of teamwork,” said coach Ty Tomlinson.
Over the past year the boys have become close on and off the pebbled ice. According to Tomlinson, they spend time together playing pool or air hockey at the club between games.
There is often parental pressure on children to play a sport, says Tomlinson, but the team genuinely wants to be there.
“I really think we have a very good chance this year,” Tomlinson said. “These boys seem to be able to overcome bad shots, bad decisions and bad luck and stay in the game; it’s really encouraging to be a part of it.”
Their skill has had real results with the team placing second in the last two bonspiels they’ve played.