Whitehorse curling skip Sarah Koltun is hoping her team can catch lightning in a bottle tomorrow.
The 21-year-old will lead her rink into the two biggest games of their season at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Sask., with a berth in the 2015 Scotties
Tournament of Hearts on the line.
Koltun’s rink will need to rise above Northwest Territories skip Kerry Galusha and Northern Ontario’s Tracy Horgan to qualify for the main draw of the
Canadian women’s curling championships, scheduled to kick off Saturday and run to Feb. 22.
The three rinks will play a single round-robin tournament, with the teams with the two best records advancing to a play-in game Saturday, concurrent with the
opening draw of the Scotties round robin.
Galusha and Horgan will get things underway when they clash tonight. Koltun and company will take on Northern Ontario at 8 a.m. Central time tomorrow,
followed by the N.W.T. at 3:30. A tie in the final standings will be determined by pre-game draws to the button.
“We feel ready,” Koltun told the Star from a still-quiet Moose Jaw this morning.
“Hopefully the best parts of our team will shine this weekend and we can make it to the main event.”
With each team member attending a different university this season, the team has only played a small number of World Curling Tour events.
Koltun, second Patty Wallingham, and lead Jenna Duncan play twice a week in leagues near New Westminster, B.C., while third Chelsea Duncan is on her
own in Edmonton.
The team met in Moose Jaw yesterday, with members of the team flying in from Whitehorse, Edmonton and Vancouver.
“The distance can be seen as a challenge, but this is mine and Chelsea’s 10th year playing together, so it’s just automatic and comfortable,” said Koltun.
Koltun’s rink downed Galusha in the territorial playdowns to qualify for the 2014 Scotties, but Horgan will provide a new challenge.
“I think we may have played her when me and Chelsea were really, really tiny children at juniors,” said Koltun. “But that gives us no advantage now eight
“At the end of the day, they’re just another team,” she said. “We’re looking at them as obstacles. That sounds bad, but we have to get through one team, and
then we have to get through the other team. And then we have to get through one of those teams again.”
Longtime coach and Scotties fifth Lindsay Moldowan doesn’t think the girls will show any rust tomorrow.
“As far as this weekend goes, I feel like we are as ready as we can be,” she said. “Regardless, we know that we have to bring our A game to play both of those
If the Yukon rink does qualify for the main draw, competition will be stiffer than ever.
Rachel Homan’s Ottawa team will take aim at a Scotties three-peat when the national championship kicks off this weekend.
But Homan – bidding to become just the third skip to win three straight Scotties titles, joining Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones (2001-2004) and Manitoba’s
Jennifer Jones (2008-10) – will have to overcome a talented field in Saskatchewan.
Not only is Jennifer Jones on hand, hoping to win her fifth Scotties title, but so is Alberta’s Val Sweeting, who lost to Homan in the 2014 final.
Koltun led the youngest team in Scotties history to two wins at last year’s event in Montreal, winning the hearts of the nation in the process.
It marked the first time since 2000 that the Yukon was represented at the event.
This is the first time in Scotties history that a pre-qualification competition will be held.
Galusha, from Yellowknife, is shooting for her 12th Scotties appearance, while Horgan, of Sudbury, Ont., is aiming at her third time in the national
Smallwood’s perfect season continues
In local curling news, Bob Smallwood’s perfect tournament season continued to roll along last weekend.
Smallwood teamed up with his wife, Jody Smallwood, on Saturday to best Herb Balsam and Corrine Delaire at the Yukon Mixed Doubles Championships.
The win was the Smallwood’s third straight in the event, and came via two straight wins – 8-5 and 12-2.
It also continued Smallwood’s perfect season, where he has represented the Yukon at mixed nationals and qualified for the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier.
Jody Smallwood said the only blemish on her husband’s season is a recent loss in the Tuesday Night Super League to George Hilderman.
However, it will be up to her to keep the streak going at the Yukon Mixed Championship later this month, as her husband will be in Calgary playing a pre-
qualification round for the Canadian men’s curling championship.