Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for October 23, 2012

Koltun rink bucks odds en route to third-place finish

Despite facing their share of adversity, Sarah Koltun’s junior curling rink came up successful – and $4,500 richer – in their first competitive bonspiel of the season.

By Marcel Vander Wier on October 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

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Photo submitted

QUICK START – The local women’s junior curling rink finished third at the Valley First Crown of Curling over the weekend. From left: Jenna Duncan, Chelsea Duncan, Sarah Koltun and Patty Wallingham.

Despite facing their share of adversity, Sarah Koltun’s junior curling rink came up successful – and $4,500 richer – in their first competitive bonspiel of the season.

The team finished third in the Valley First Crown of Curling, a World Curling Tour event held over the weekend in Kamloops, B.C.

The Yukon team, consisting of skip Koltun, second Patty Wallingham, and the Duncan sisters – third Chelsea and lead Jenna – dropped their semifinal matchup 8-2 to eventual champion Bingyu Wang and Team China yesterday.

The bonspiel featured 24 teams from seven countries – including three Canadian provinces. The Yukon team was the top Canadian finisher with a record of 5-2.

It was the team’s first competition of the season.

What makes the third-place finish even more improbable is the fact that the team rarely gets a practice in since Koltun attends Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. and Chelsea Duncan is studying at the University of Alberta.

The team met in Kamloops and curled without a coach.

Head coach Lindsay Moldowan was unable to join her rink at the bonspiel, but shared coaching advice through Skype and phone calls during the event.

“All odds were against them, that’s for sure,” she admitted. “We went into it just for the experience. They haven’t curled in a lot of adult or WCT (World Curling Tour) spiels, so we just figured this year we wanted to step it up a bit as far as getting the experience and the competition. It was a really good weekend for them.”

The team dropped their opening match to Russia, but regained their composure and got on a roll.

“We just kept winning after that,” Moldowan said. “They realized they could actually play with a lot of the teams that were there. I think they just needed to get that first game against Russia out of the way.”

The cash winnings are a pleasant new addition for the young team.

“I was concerned that maybe they would start thinking about how much money they were actually playing for,” said Moldowan. “But when I brought that up they said they weren’t even thinking about it. They’ve never played for money like that before.”

The winnings will be put back into the team and allow them to attend another bonspiel outside of the territory – something that will only benefit them, said Moldowan.

On Thursday, the rink will reconvene in Lloydminster, Alta. for a junior bonspiel, after Koltun and Duncan finish university midterms.

Moldowan said she has high hopes for her rink this season.

“Them winning this bonspiel this weekend makes me feel confident that the goals that they’ve set are that much more reachable for them,” she said. “It’s just a really positive thing for us to start the season with something like that and then keep going forward with it.”

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The Koltun rink isn’t the only Yukon squad with early-season curling success.

Mitchell Young’s rink also captured a third-place finish at the Flatiron Challenge in Lacombe, Alta. The bonspiel is one of the development series events on the World Curling Tour.

Young’s rink – Mitchell Young, Will Mahoney, Joe Wallingham, and Wade Scoffin playing substitute for team regular Spencer Wallace – played their way through a field of former Olympians and national champions en route to a semifinal matchup with the current World Junior Champions led by Alberta’s Parker Konschuh.

Team Young lost 6-2 in the semis and went on to capture third place.

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In junior competition, Bailey Horte’s rink traveled to Lethbridge, Alta. to take part in the Michael Izsak Memorial Junior Cash Spiel.

The team of Horte, Kelly Mahoney, Sian Malloy, and Kelsey Meger finished 1-4.

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Earlier this season, Whitehorse’s Thomas Scoffin – skip of the University of Alberta Junior Bears curling rink – went undefeated in the Curler’s Corner Classic Junior Bonspiel in Calgary.

Scoffin also excelled at the Shamrock Shotgun, a Men’s World Curling Tour cashspiel, before dropping the final game 8-4 score to Danny Sherrard – the 2012 Alberta Men’s Club Champions. The Junior Bears earned $1,600 for finishing second place.

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