Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for January 22, 2014

Koltun loses tiebreaker, misses championship round

Team Koltun’s dream of a junior national championship is over.

By Marcel Vander Wier on January 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm

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OUT OF THE RUNNING – Team Koltun lead Jenna Duncan, left, and second Patty Wallingham sweep a stone towards the house at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, N.S. Photo courtesy DONNA CONRAD/CANADIAN CURLING ASSOCIATION

Team Koltun’s dream of a junior national championship is over.

Quebec held off the Yukon’s junior women’s rink 7-6 in a tiebreaker game last night to grab the eighth and final berth in the championship round.

With the loss, skip Sarah Koltun’s rink drops to the seeding round to determine the rankings for next year’s event in Corner Brook, N.L.

The highest they can finish is ninth.

“The tiebreaker was a tough one to lose,” Koltun said in an email to the Star this morning. “The game was really back and forth and it came down to the last rock.”

The tiebreaker became necessary after the Yukon beat B.C. 8-6 yesterday to even their record at 3-3 and tie Quebec for the final spot in the championship round of eight.

Team Koltun was considered by many to be a pre-tournament favourite after becoming the first rink in history to qualify for both the junior nationals and the Scotties in the same year.

But the junior team – consisting of Koltun, third Andrea Sinclair, second Patty Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan – got off to a slow start in Liverpool, N.S., and wasn’t able to recover.

“We had a pretty tough travel schedule, which made it difficult for us to start the week off at the top of our game,” said Koltun, 20.

“The new format of this tournament leaves very little room for a slow start and so we unfortunately couldn’t generate enough wins to get into the championship round.”

With their dreams of a championship shattered, the team will now use their final games in Liverpool to refocus for the Scotties, which begins Feb. 1 in Montreal.

“There’s no point in us focusing on the past anymore,” Koltun said. “We just have to move forward.”

Koltun’s team finished fourth at last year’s junior nationals.

The Yukon skip admitted missing her long-time vice, Chelsea Duncan, who at 21 is no longer eligible for junior competition.

“For other sports, teams are much bigger and so changing one player wouldn’t make a huge difference,” she admitted. “But one player is a quarter of our team. This creates a different dynamic, so it was pretty hard to ride the wave from (their Scotties entry) right into the juniors.”

Chelsea will be back on the roster for the Scotties in place of her younger sister Jenna.

The territory’s junior men’s rink also missed out on the championship round after collecting an early record of 2-4.

Skip Joe Wallingham, 17, said he was proud of how his young rink handled the pressure at nationals.

His team of third Spencer Wallace, second Brayden Klassen and lead Trygg Jensen beat both B.C. and P.E.I., but dropped close games to Alberta, N.W.T. and Nova Scotia.
“I thought Trygg and Brayden handled it pretty well,” Wallingham said of his rookie teammates.

“We’ve been in every game pretty much. We just had a couple of letdowns against Northwest Territories. That’s a game that we should have won and it’s kind of come back and bitten us a little bit.”

Wallingham said his team isn’t giving up just yet. The skip hopes to go out on a high and match the Yukon’s 5-4 record from last year.

The junior nationals will wrap up this weekend with the women’s championship scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. AST and the men’s final at the same time Sunday.
Both games will be televised live on TSN.


By MARCEL VANDER WIER
Star Sports Editor

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