Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 6, 2014

Yukon’s Team Koltun books ticket to Scotties

Twenty-year-old Sarah Koltun fulfilled a childhood dream today by skipping her team into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.


Photo by Whitehorse Star

SCOTTIES BOUND – Sarah Koltun and her Yukon women’s rink of Chelsea Duncan, Patty Wallingham, and Andrea Sinclair will represent the North at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal Feb. 1 to 9 (top). END OF THE ROAD – Ladene Shaw and Helen Strong sweep a Nicole Baldwin stone during the Yukon women’s playdowns held last month at the Whitehorse Curling Club. Despite winning that event, Team Baldwin finished third in Yellowknife with a 2-4 record.

Twenty-year-old Sarah Koltun fulfilled a childhood dream today by skipping her team into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Team Koltun defeated longtime Northwest Territories powerhouse Team Galusha 6-4 in a tiebreaker this morning at the Yellowknife Curling Club that had supporters of both rinks sweating it out until the final end.

The tiebreaking game was necessary after the two teams finished the Yukon/Northwest Territories Scotties playdowns with identical 5-1 records. The four-team tournament got underway Friday in the N.W.T. capital.

Today, Koltun and Galusha traded singles until the ninth end, when Koltun used the hammer to strike for a deuce – and a 6-4 lead.

“We were just waiting for that opportunity,” said Koltun, reached in Yellowknife by the Star this morning. “That was definitely the turning point in the game. The girls shot lights out in the last end. We just ran them out of rocks.”

The young Yukon rink, which will also represent the territory at the junior nationals in Liverpool, N.S., later this month, ran N.W.T. skip Kerry Galusha out of rocks in the 10th end to secure their victory.

“It’s unreal. We are still in shock,” Koltun said. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s finally starting to sink in and it’s super exciting. This is something that we have all dreamed about for so long ...  having the chance to go to the Scotties while we’re still so young – it’s amazing.”

Koltun will become the first skip in history to appear at the junior nationals and the Scotties in the same year, according to Al Cameron of the Canadian Curling Association.

“I can say with a fair degree of certainty that it hasn’t happened,” Cameron said this morning. “This is history.”

Cameron said New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford (nee Kelly) was the last junior-eligible skip to appear at the Scotties, in 2006.

“That’s pretty exciting,” Koltun said when informed of her history-making feat.

“These are the two goals that we set out for the year – to make it to juniors and the Scotties. I took a risk taking a year off and just putting all my effort into curling, and so to have it pay off ... it’s so exciting.”

The young Yukon rink received high praise from Galusha, who has represented the North at nine of the last 13 Scotties championships.

“It was a really close game that could have gone either way,” Galusha said.

“No one was able to generate a deuce until the ninth end when Sarah made two really nice shots. She basically won her team the game.

“They definitely outplayed us today,” she added. “They brought their A game and we brought our B game and they prevailed. They’re a good young team and I knew we were going to be in tough this weekend.”

The 36-year-old skip fought through tears as she pondered her brilliant career.

“I’m coming to an end in my competitive curling career,” she said. “Every year I go so hard and I do have a four-year-old child and a husband. We’re talking about having another child and I just put it off for the last two years. My family has sacrificed so much for me to be able to do what I love ... I do need to focus on my family for the next year or two.”

Galusha said competition was more fierce than ever before.

“Between us and Koltun and Baldwin’s team, I would say we’re all pretty even,” she said.

Despite beating Team Koltun two games to one in the Yukon Women’s Curling Championship last month, Team Baldwin lost both of the all-Yukon matchups in Yellowknife over the weekend.

The two losses to Koltun hurt, and proved to be the difference as Nicole Baldwin’s rink finished the tournament in third place with a 2-4 record.

Koltun edged Baldwin’s rink 7-6 in an extra end Friday, and followed that up with another tight 6-5 victory Saturday.

Baldwin said her rink played better than the standings show, but wasn’t able to close out the big games.

“We didn’t bring our game like we did in the Yukons,” the 33-year-old admitted.

“It’s heartbreaking. You work so hard all year just to come up a couple inches short ... it gets to your heartstrings a little bit.”

Despite her team’s losses, this weekend’s playdowns proved to be a proud moment for the territory, Baldwin said.

“It’s definitely a proud moment for the Yukon,” she said.

It’s been 13 years since the Yukon has sent a team to the Scotties.

The last Yukon women’s team to participate in the Canadian curling championships was led by Sandra Hatton. Her rink finished 0-11 in Prince George, B.C.

“We’re so glad to be sending a Yukon team for the first time in a long time,” Koltun said. “We’re so glad that all of our hard work has paid off and that we’ve been able to accomplish all of this together as a team.

“We’re just super excited to go out there and show everyone what we’ve got.”

Coach Lindsay Moldowan said the moment was hard to fathom. Her longtime junior rink could only dream of this moment when they added Ottawa’s Andrea Sinclair to their ranks this past summer.

“I’m just on Cloud 9 right now,” she told the Star.

“I don’t even have words to describe how amazing this feels. You have to believe that they can do it, because obviously they’re more than capable of doing it, but Galusha is an extremely good team, so going into it, there’s always tons of nerves. You envision it’s going to happen, but until it happens ... it’s just crazy.

“They’re just amazing,” Moldowan said of Koltun, Chelsea Duncan, Patty Wallingham and Sinclair. “I don’t know how they do it. This is my eighth year with Chelsea and Sarah and they never cease to amaze me.

“I think that this is just an example of when you set your goal and you work really hard, that you can accomplish it.”

CommentsAdd a comment


Jan 7, 2014 at 9:36 am

This is pretty awesome! 

Congratulations to these ladies for all their efforts and time that they have put in to this sport.
Very proud of these girls.  As far as I know, they have made history for going to 2 nationals in the same year.

David Erickson

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

Congratulations to you Sarah and your teammates!!  Your professors and classmates in the School of Human Kinetics at Trinity Western University are very proud of your accomplishment!!
All the best in February at the Scotties!!

Prof. E.

Donna Masse-Cieszecki

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Hey Sarah!  Congratulations on your win to the Scotties.
I am very proud and happy for you and your team.

Well Done!!
I’ll be watching you in the Scotties!

Langley Curling

Daryl Page

Jan 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

The School of Human Kinetics is extremely proud to see Sarah compete at such a high level in her sport. Sarah has been a dedicated student and had to manage her time and commitments to be able to accomplish this. We will be cheering her on at the Scotties and as she completes her studies.
Great job.


Jan 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Kent and I both want to send our congratulations to you and your team.  Can’t wait to watch it all on TV next month.
So excited for you!!

(Langley Curling Club & TWU)

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