For the first time this millennium, a Yukon junior curling team has returned from nationals without a losing record.
Competing at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Championships last week in Calgary, Team Koltun, headed by skip Sarah Koltun, went 6-6 for an even .500 record, finishing in a tie for seventh.
The previous skip to leave the nationals without a losing record was Nicole Baldwin’s team from Whitehorse, producing a 6-6 record in 1999.
“I’m very proud of how our team played over the past week,” said Koltun. “It was good to see everything come together. We had a little bit of a rough year last year, so it was nice to see such a good result.”
Joining Koltun on the rink, twice named Team of the Year at Sport Yukon’s Awards Night, are third Chelsea Duncan, second Linea Eby, lead Jenna Duncan and coach Lindsay Moldowan.
Koltun, who was making her fifth consecutive appearance at the junior nationals, went 5-7 in 2009 and 3-9 in 2010. Making their record this year all the more impressive is that it was so close to a winning record – literally. In an extra end against New Brunswick, Team Koltun took a loss after an official was forced to come out and measure the distances from the button to determine the winner.
“The official had to measure it twice, almost three times, because it was so close,” said Koltun. “We had a lot of close games – we had a couple we probably could have won.”
A slightly different Team Koltun will be hurrying hard next week in Halifax for the Canada Winter Games. Team Koltun will be adding Patti Wallingham to replace Chelsea Duncan, who exceeds the age requirement of the Games.
“It is the same age-group as the Optimist International that we went to last year (and won gold),” said Koltun. “So we’re hoping we’ll place in the top few in our pool and hopefully have a winning record.”
Team Scoffin struggles into eighth
Although leaving the junior nationals with the same 5-7 record as last year, finishing in a tie for eighth, Yukon’s Team Scoffin gave a better overall performance this time around, said skip Thomas Scoffin.
“Teams were a lot tougher this year and we felt we played well overall,” said Scoffin. “All our games were pretty close, except for one. That was really good – we always had a chance. We had some good games against some strong teams, like Alberta and Quebec. We had some big wins.
“Towards the end of the week, we still had a chance to make the playoffs. We were in control of our own destiny and that’s always good.”
Though never blown out in a game, Team Scoffin didn’t return the favour, beating PEI 10-3 and Alberta 10-1.
“It was just a couple misses here and there that gave us the edge,” said Scoffin of the Alberta match.
Like Koltun, Scoffin, who holds the record of the youngest skip to play at the junior nationals, will be representing the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games, though he’s not exactly given it much thought.
“I haven’t even thought about it yet – I haven’t had time,” he said.
On the ice with Scoffin in Calgary were third Josh Burns, second Mitch Young, lead Will Mahoney and coach Wade Scoffin. At the Games in Halifax Scoffin will be backed by Kurtis Hills, Michael Hare and brother Andrew Scoffin.
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