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EARLY EXIT – Team Yukon skip Sarah Koltun screams at her sweepers during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts prequalifier tournament in Moose Jaw, Sask. Photo courtesy of ANDREW KLAVER/CANADIAN CURLING ASSOCIATION

Koltun rink ousted from Scotties after losses

Sarah Koltun summed up her feelings with two words Friday.

By Marcel Vander Wier on February 16, 2015

Sarah Koltun summed up her feelings with two words Friday.

“It sucks,” the 21-year-old curling skip told reporters, before breaking down in tears after being eliminated from the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Koltun dropped her first game to Northern Ontario by a score of 7-5 before losing her second straight 11-10 in an edge-of-your-seat contest versus Yellowknife skip Kerry Galusha.

The Northwest Territories scored five in the seventh end, and were firmly in control entering the 10th end, up 10-6.

But the ice-veined Koltun did not relent, scoring four with a final stone that nearly slid through the rings, but stopped just in time to send the game to an extra end.

“At the end of our little team meeting at the end of the ninth end, the other team was already celebrating and I said: ‘We just have to get four,’” Koltun told reporters post-game.

“And they giggled and it kind of lightened the mood. And that’s what it did. I am proud of them. They played well.”

Koltun’s final shot was seemingly willed by the crowd to stop in the back 12-foot, according to a Canadian Curling Association press release.

Galusha, a 12-time Scotties participant, went on to win the game with a takeout in the 11th end.

“We said: ‘We have hammer. It was a crappy end. Let’s move on. We’re right where we want to be,’” Galusha said after the thriller.

However, she went on to lose the play-in game 7-6 Saturday, with Sudbury, Ont., skip Tracy Horgan advancing to the main draw.

This is the first year the national women’s curling championship has included a prequalification round, meant to give all member associations a chance to participate, including Northern Ontario, Team Canada and all three territories.

Prior to Friday’s competition, Koltun didn’t mince words when asked her opinion on the new system.

“I think my opinion is biased, being that we’re here having to go through this process that I would really rather not be going through,” she told the Star. “But I think all of us feel that it’s probably not the best system.

“It’s kind of unfortunate for us. Obviously, it’s not what any of the three teams that are here want to go through right now. We would just love for it to be a full national event with teams from everywhere being represented, but it’s just not the way it is.”

Longtime Team Koltun coach Lindsay Moldowan said her team was pleased to represent its home territory, rather than the North as a whole.

This year is also the first time the territorial rinks have had separate entries involved.

“We’re happy to represent the Yukon and be the first-ever Yukon team at the Scotties. At this point, there’s no changing it, so we just look at it as the task at hand.

“It’s been nine years of coaching Team Koltun for me, and I can honestly say that was one of (the) most difficult losses to move on from,” Moldowan added in a Facebook post yesterday.

“That being said, I am still extremely proud of my girls for their determination and grace.”

B.C. curling instructor Bill Tschirhart joined the team for the Scotties and shared his frustrations with the prequalification system on Facebook yesterday.

“It’s unfortunate for the event that it will miss out on the wonderful shot-making and role modeling this young team from Whitehorse provided at the Scotties last year in Montreal,” he said.

The season proved to be a difficult one for Team Koltun, as each of Koltun, third Chelsea Duncan, second Patty Wallingham, and lead Jenna Duncan were attending different post-secondary institutions.

“All of my coaching was really through Skype,” Moldowan admitted.

The Scotties will run until Feb. 22 with the winner representing Canada at the world women’s curling championship in Japan next month.

– With files by Canadian Press

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