Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for October 22, 2013

Koltun, Wallingham rinks begin march to junior nationals

Two Whitehorse junior curling rinks kicked off their competitive seasons over the weekend with bonspiels in Kamloops and Red Deer.

By Marcel Vander Wier on October 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ON THE ROAD – Skip Sarah Koltun instructs her sweepers on where to guide a stone during a competitive curling clinic held in Whitehorse earlier this month. Team Koltun is in the midst of a three-week road trip with stops in Kamloops, Lloydminster and Ottawa.

Two Whitehorse junior curling rinks kicked off their competitive seasons over the weekend with bonspiels in Kamloops and Red Deer.

Sarah Koltun’s junior girls rink swept their way to a 1-3 record at the Kamloops Crown of Curling, while Joe Wallingham’s new-look junior boys rink made it to the Division 3 playoffs, before dropping a semifinal matchup at the Red Deer Junior Classic.

After finishing third in the World Curling Tour event last season, Team Koltun’s junior rink settled with a hard-fought learning experience.

“The biggest thing was how we played together, those team systems that we’ve been working out,” said Koltun, 20.

“Now that we’ve played together for a whole weekend, we’re more used to each other and how we play. We hope to just build on that for the next time.”

It marked the first Outside competition for the junior version of the rink, made up of Koltun, third Andrea Sinclair, second Patty Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan.

“We felt pretty confident with how we played,” Koltun told the Star. “We just felt like we got on the wrong side of it. In a couple games, we were tied playing the last end, and we just couldn’t pull it off. So we just hope to be able to finish stronger and keep up what we’ve been doing.”

The junior rink will compete at the Whitney Field Junior Curling Classic in Lloydminster this weekend, before heading east to the nation’s capital for the JSI-OVSA Junior Superspiel.

Team Koltun is aiming to peak in time for the territorial junior playdowns, with hopes of once again representing the Yukon at junior nationals in Liverpool, N.S. in February.

In Red Deer, Team Wallingham cobbled together a 3-2 record, finishing with a 9-5 playoff loss to Logan Mortemore’s Alberta rink Sunday.

“We ended up finishing middle of the pack, technically around 11th,” coach Kevin Patterson said today. “It was their first tournament as a team, so absolutely, it was a good showing.”

Twenty-four teams participated in the junior bonspiel.

“Joe, our skip, really shone, considering how it was his first time skipping in a real competitive situation,” said Patterson. “I think he handled himself really well.”

Besides the 17-year-old Wallingham, the junior rink consists of third Spencer Wallace, second Brayden Klassen and lead Trygg Jensen.

Last season, Wallingham and Wallace paired with longtime junior players Mitch Young and Will Mahoney to finish ninth at junior nationals in Fort McMurray.

This year, the Yukon rink has its sights on finishing in the national tournament’s championship pool.

“Last year, the boys finished atop the seeding pool,” Patterson said. “This year, they want to be in the championship round. That’s the ultimate goal right now.”

Team Wallingham’s next competition will be in Leduc, Alta. in early November.

Patterson, Sport Yukon’s marketing, communications and event coordinator, previously coached a junior boys curling rink in Nova Scotia.

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