Yukon rinks out of medal contention at junior nationals

Yukon's two rinks will not be shooting for gold after failing to reach the championship pools at the 2014 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, this week.

Yukon’s two rinks will not be shooting for gold after failing to reach the championship pools at the 2014 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, this week.

Whitehorse rinks Team Koltun and Team Wallingham are out of medal contention, but top-10 finishes are still within their grasp.

A pair of wins for both junior teams could put them in a ninth place finish.

Expectations were particularly high for Team Koltun in their last trip to the junior championship. Not only did the team place fourth at last year’s championship, in a little over a week skip Sarah Koltun will become the first curler to lead a team at junior nationals and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in the same season.

“We are a little disappointed with the result, but the way the championship was set up, it’s hard to have a slow start and still make a run for the title because you have to make it into the championship round,” said Koltun. “We had a good enough record to get in there, but unfortunately we lost that really close tiebreaker.

“We’re upset that our last year’s run was cut a little short, but at the end of the day we are still competing and are still trying to represent the Yukon well. We are going to do our best in our last couple of games and hopefully get (Yukon) a good seeding spot for next year.”

Team Koltun, which includes third Andrea Sinclair, second Patty Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan, was edged out of a spot in the championship pool with a narrow loss in a tiebreaker against Quebec’s Camille Boisvert on Tuesday. The Whitehorse rink lost 7-6 on the last rock.

Koltun went into the tiebreaker carrying a 3-3 record with wins over Nunavut, N.W.T. and B.C., the last of whom qualified fourth in the championship round.

The Koltun crew played Northern Ontario Thursday evening and will play Newfoundland on Friday to end the championship. (Thursday’s results were not available by press time.)

“We’re just going to try to get as much out of it as we can and prepare for the Scotties that are coming up,” said Koltun, who is making a record eighth appearance at the nationals this week. “We’re going to take the rest of this as a learning experience and a chance to show our talent and what we can do. Hopefully we’ll finish strong.”

Not all losses weigh on the mind equally, as Yukon’s junior men can attest.

Team Wallingham beat provinces B.C. and Quebec, but lost 7-4 against neighbouring N.W.T.

A win over their fellow territory would have put Team Wallingham in a tiebreaker for entry into the championships pool.

“That one hurt,” said Wallingham coach Kevin Patterson. “That is the game, if you ask anyone on our team, we’d want back. It was unfortunate. We were up 4-0, had some chances to break the game open, it just didn’t come together for whatever reason.

“Had we beaten that team, we would have been in a tiebreaker to get into the championship pool opposed to being in the seeding round.”

Like Koltun, Team Wallingham – skip Joe Wallingham, third Brayden Klassen, Spencer Wallace as second and lead Trygg Jensen – went into the seeding pool in the top spot.

Wallingham played Newfoundland Thursday evening and will face Nunavut on Friday to end the championship.

“Early on in the week we played well, we fought hard to get in every game,” said Joe. “There have been a couple bad breaks, but the team as a whole has been playing petty good together and are coming together as a team.”

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