Smallwood rink makes it five in a row at mixed curling championship

Teammates have come and gone, but Whitehorse couple Robert and Jody Smallwood always end up on top.

Teammates have come and gone, but Whitehorse couple Robert and Jody Smallwood always end up on top.

Team Smallwood, with Robert as skip and Jody as lead, captured their fifth consecutive title at the Yukon Mixed Curling Championships on Feb. 5 at the Whitehorse Curling Club.

“It feels good to do it with different players every now and again,” said Robert. “It lets you know that you’re still on top of the mixed world.”

The Smallwood rink went undefeated in six games for the win. With the title the Smallwoods will represent Yukon at their fifth straight mixed nationals in November.

Robert and Jody also won their fifth straight Yukon Mixed Doubles Curling title in December.

They were joined this past weekend by teammates Sarah Koltun playing third and Alex Peech playing second.

“Bob and Jody reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in playing mixed this year, so I thought it would be something new to try, a new opportunity,” said Koltun. “It was a great experience.”

Robert, 43, and Koltun, 23, curled together in a mixed doubles bonspiel last November in Manitoba.

Robert was skip for Team Yukon at the last two Tim Hortons Brier — the men’s curling nationals. Koltun will be skip for Yukon at her third Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the women’s nationals — Feb. 18-26 in St. Catharines, Ont. She has also skipped for Yukon at eight junior curling nationals.

“Sarah might have more knowledge on skipping, playing all those competitive teams down south for the last few years,” said Robert. “It takes some of the pressure off, though she does like throwing last rocks.”

Peech was already on a winning streak, as a member of the winning rink at the Gold Nugget Bonspiel in Atlin, B.C. a couple weeks ago.

The Smallwoods and former teammates Nicole Baldwin and Wade Scoffin placed eighth out of 14 rinks at the 2016 Canadian Mixed Curling Championships for the best finish on record for a team representing Yukon. (A team representing both N.W.T. and Yukon placed fifth in 2006.)

This past weekend Herbert Balsam’s team placed second with a 3-3 record, Pat Paslawski third at 2-4 and Dustin Mikkelsen fourth at 1-5.

Team Smallwood had some close ones along the way — winning 5-4 over Balsam on Feb. 3 and 7-5 over Paslawski on Feb. 4.

“Obviously going undefeated is a good feeling,” said Koltun. “We definitely had some close games; it wasn’t a walk in the park by any means. We’re really strong and consistent and resilient, and that resulted in an undefeated weekend.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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