Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 24, 2013

Koltun off to the national junior championships – again

Skip Sarah Koltun will take her team to the Canadian Junior Curling Championships next month, for the eighth year in a row.

By Chuck Tobin on December 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

POINTING OUT THE TARGET – Joe Wallingham and Bailey Muir-Cressman faced off in the men’s curling (top). CLOSE QUARTERS – Bailey Horte, Kelsey Meger, Sarah Koltun, left-right, and front Kelly Mahoney, middle Sian Molloy, and in back Andrea Sinclair keep an eye on the action Saturday during the junior playoffs.

Skip Sarah Koltun will take her team to the Canadian Junior Curling Championships next month, for the eighth year in a row.

Koltun earned the right last weekend at the Yukon Junior Curling Championships, defeating Bailey Horte’s team 8-2 and 8-6 in the best-of-three showdown.

On the junior men’s side, Joe Wallingham’s rink earned a berth at the championships in Liverpool, N.S. by defeating Bailey Muir-Cressman’s team 12-2 and 9-4.

Koltun skipped her rink to a fourth-place finish at last year’s junior championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.

The team finished the modified round robin with a record of seven wins and three losses. They defeated Ontario soundly in the final round robin match to move into a two-way tie for third place with the largest province, but Ontario won the tie-breaker 6-5 to go onto the playoff round.

Gord Moffat, assistant coach to Koltun’s team, said Monday last year’s performance at the nationals by the Yukon’s 2013 team of the year was stellar.

The team, said Moffat, has wholeheartedly dedicated itself to the sport and to the upcoming run for a national title.

“They are a remarkable bunch of athletes who have committed way more than any athlete I have seen or heard of at any time,” Moffat said.

He said the junior women are technically as strong as any team or stronger. They understand the game, and the strategy, he said.

Moffat said they they’ve been preparing physically.

And they have the experience, he emphasized, noting it will be Koltun’s eighth trip to the nationals.

For Jenna Duncan, the team’s second, this will be her sixth trip to the nationals six times, and it will be the second for Patty Wallingham, the team’s second.

Andrea Sinclair, throwing lead rocks, has not been to a junior nationals, but she actually met the Koltun rink while representing Ontario at the Canada Winter Games, Moffat pointed out.

He said Sinclair moved to the Yukon to become part of Koltun’s team, after the team lost Chelsea Duncan because she turned 21.

Koltun’s team, said the assistant coach, has the experience.

“The biggest challenge is going to be believing in themselves,” he said.

Koltun is confident they can do just that.

There are always a little nerves and excitement at a national event, said the 20-year-old skip who’s in her last year of eligibility for the juniors, along with teammates Wallingham and Sinclair.

“It is our last shot, so I mean we have to give everything,” Koltun said.

“I think we are fortunate to have a lot of experience under our belt, and being able to use that in a positive way will be a benefit for us.”

Koltun’s team is also vying for a spot at the Scotties national women’s championship at the territorial playdowns in Yellowknife during the first week of January.

The junior men’s winning skip has been to the junior nationals once before, as second under the team led by Will Mahoney.

Wallingham, third Brayden Klassen, second Spence Wallace and Trygg Jensen as lead have been to two tournaments in Alberta this year in preparation for last weekend’s junior playdowns and now the junior nationals.

Wallingham acknowledged they are a new team, but they are resilient, and if they have to keep the pedal to the metal for a full 10 ends, they can do it.

“We are pretty good shot makers and we try not to give up the big ends, and if we do, we try to come back and not let it get to us,” he said.

“If we are on same page and work together, we will do fine.”

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