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Baldwin sweeps up ninth international spiel title

Whitehorse skip Nicole Baldwin is now one title shy of double digits. Team Baldwin went undefeated once again at the Whitehorse Curling Club’s International Bonspiel over the weekend.

Whitehorse skip Nicole Baldwin is now one title shy of double digits.

Team Baldwin went undefeated once again at the Whitehorse Curling Club’s International Bonspiel over the weekend.

Baldwin has now won the women’s A division nine times.

“It feels good,” said Baldwin. “I’m actually more excited that Ladene (Shaw) and I have curled in most of them together and we’ve won three in a row now.”

Baldwin took the title with a 9-3 win over Team Duncan in the final on Sunday.

Team Baldwin, which includes Shaw as third, Jaime Hewitt as second and Diane Huber as lead, won four straight games for the title. Baldwin and Shaw curled together to win the Yukon Women’s Curling Championship.

Team Baldwin took a 3-0 lead in the final before Duncan tied it up in the third. They then scored one in the fourth, two in the fifth and ended with three singles.

“The team came together and played good shots and the other team played good shots as well, so I feel that we were just a little stronger,” said Baldwin, who won the bonspiel for her first time in 1994. “We caught on to the ice a little bit better, because it was changing quite a bit out there.”

Team Duncan was a new team assembled for the bonspiel, but it includes some very experienced curlers. Skip Chelsea Duncan and third Patty Wallingham played on Sarah Koltun’s team this season and reached the Scotties Tournament of Hearts – the first Yukon rink to do so since 2000. Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan won the Yukon junior title with Koltun in December and competed at the junior nationals.

Duncan second Jody Smallwood has represented Yukon at the mixed nationals and the mixed doubles nationals.

However, Chelsea is fairly new to the skip position.

“I decided to give it a shot as skip,” said Chelsea. “For an entire tournament, that was my first time. I used to skip back in the day when I was probably 12 years old, but I haven’t much since then.

“The only other time was at the Scotties – Sarah and (coach/fifth) Lindsay (Moldowan) were sick and I had to skip there. That worked out OK for me so I decided to give it a shot at an actual spiel.”

Koltun curled on a team with Moldowan and her team’s sports psychologist, Tracey Bilsky, and placed second in the women’s C draw after a close loss to Team Duncan in the A draw.

Skip Walter Wallingham will need a few more titles to get up to Baldwin’s number, but he’s on his way.

Wallingham regained the men’s A division title after first winning it in 2012.

With son Joe playing second on the team, there were three Wallinghams vying for titles on Sunday, with daughter Patty on the Duncan rink.

“This is the first time I’ve won it with my son, so it’s good,” said Walter. “It was lots of fun. It was good curling, good to see the teams from out of town here.”

Wallingham secured the title with an 8-6 win over Frank Taylor’s rink in the final.

Team Wallingham is a geographically diverse Yukon rink. Walter is from Mayo, Joe lists Whitehorse as his hometown, third Nelson Lepine is from the Mayo and Elsa areas, and lead Ed Kormendy is from

Dawson City. Kormandy was on Wallingham’s 2012 winning rink at the bonspiel. Joe won gold with his junior team while representing Yukon at the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, a couple weeks ago.

Tamar Van Den Berghe’s team took first in the women’s B event, Laura Eby won first in the women’s C and Leslie Grant won first in women’s D over the weekend.

Matt Johnson’s team topped the men’s B, Dustin Mikkelsen won the men’s C and Justin Meek won the men’s D.

The 62nd annual International Bonspiel featured 14 women’s teams and 22 men’s teams, including rinks from Alaska and B.C.

Contact Tom Patrick at