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U18 girls curl their way to second-place finish

The local U18 girls’ curling team made it to the finals at the Ontario Curling Association U18 Women’s Provincial Championships last week in Hamilton, the team’s first-ever shot at the provincial title. From left, Marc Bernard (coach), Veronica Bernard (skip), Claire Randell (vice), Sarah Wallace (second) and Kyrsten Elson (lead). [Submitted]

A local curling team has been named the second-place team in Ontario, following a heartbreaking loss at the Ontario Curling Association U18 Women’s Provincial Championship event in Hamilton last week.

Their first showing as a team at the provincial level the team of Veronica Bernard (skip), Claire Randell (vice), Sarah Wallace (second) and Kyrsten Elson (lead) played seven round-robin games before winning the semi-finals and falling in a tight championship match.

“They did really well and I am very, very proud of them,” said coach Marc Bernard. “They are a little heartbroken at the result right now, but I think that they will be pretty happy with it down the road a little when they look back on the experience.”

Having ended the round-robin play with a 5-2 record, the girls were tied for first place in the standings against Listowel. However, since they lost to them in the round robin play, Listowel had a pass to the finals while the girls had to play a semi-final game.

During the semi-final, the team faced off against an opponent from Ottawa whom they had played prior during the round robin – with a 9-3 win over that team, they were sent to the finals.

Both teams played a strong final game, but a few missed shots and one unlucky bounce in the seventh end set up the eighth nicely for Listowel, who took the win 6-3.

“The final game was really close right up until, they are eight end games and we were up by one point playing the seventh end. We missed a couple of shots and their team made a couple of shots and that was the end of it. We were getting really close to the end of the game and we’re in the lead there so it was a good experience,” said Bernard.

The loss and experience of being in the event has driven the team to make the decision to stick together next season playing events on the U21 Ontario Junior Curling Tour and the U21 Ontario Curling Association provincial qualifier.

“When you have a team of friends like this, it’s hard to imagine finding another group of players that we could have as much fun with, or have as much support for each other as we do,” said Bernard.

However, the team is not ready to put up their curling equipment for the summer just yet. After finishing the season as the top-ranked U18 team on the Ontario Junior Curling Tour their ranking in the tour has lead to an invitation to play in the tour championship event at the end of April, giving the girls one last show before season’s end.

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