First teams qualify for newly-minted U18 championships

By Rebecca Connop Price

Four U18 team have qualified for the 2017 BC U18 Curling Championships.

The teams will be making history as they will be participating in the province’s first U18 championships. The BC U18 Curling Championships, for curlers 17 and under as of June 30, 2016, take place at Nanaimo Curling Centre from March 16-19, 2017.

These championships were previously for those 16 and under and it was called the Juvenile Curling Championships and the winners went to the Optimists International U18 Curling event (which featured teams from several provinces as well as places like the USA and Japan).

Now the provincial event is a U18 event and the BC winners will go on to compete in the first-ever Canadian U18 Curling Championships, featuring fourteen teams from all provinces and territories (including two from Ontario).

This weekend (Jan 6-8) saw the Lower Mainland teams playdown at Mission Granite Curling Club to compete for four berths to provincials (two boys’ and two girls’ berths).

Qualifiers included Team Tardi, from Langley/Victoria. The team features two members from the winning BC Junior (U21) Men’s team, Tyler Tardi (Cloverdale) and Sterling Middleton (Burnaby). They are joined by Scott Gray and Derek Chandler from Victoria. The team is coached by Paul Tardi.

The other team to qualify was Team Sato, the fourth place finishers from the BC Junior Curling Championships. Team Sato, of Cloverdale, Royal City and Coquitlam curling clubs, features Hayato Sato (Coquitlam), Dawson Ballard (Cloverdale), Troy Chong (Burnaby) and Joshua Miki (Port Coquitlam). The team is coached by Bryan Miki and Len Chong.

On the U18 girls’ side, the qualifiers included Sarah Daniels from Delta and Sarah Loken from Surrey, with a U18 rink featuring Catera Park (Coquitlam) and Kim Bonneau (Abbotsford). Daniels and Loken achieved silver at the BC Junior Curling Championships earlier this year. The team is coached by Katie Witt.

The other team to qualify was Team Drexel, who won the curling event at the 2016 BC Winter Games in Penticton. Team Drexel is made up of Heather Drexel (Coquitlam), Everly Royea (Chilliwack), Bailey Burke (Langley), Madeline Britz (Chilliwack) and coach Alan Smith.

The remaining qualification playdowns for the U18 event take place this weekend, January 13-15.
The Kootenay playdowns take place at Grand Forks Curling Club and the Thompson Okanagan playdowns take place at Eastlink Curling Centre in Oliver. Meanwhile the Island playdowns are staged in Nanaimo and the northern playdowns take place in 100 Mile House.

The scores and standings will be updated at for both the regional playdowns and the provincial championships.

The winners of the U18 events will go on to compete at the first-ever national U18 event, which will take place in Moncton, New Brunswick, from April 17-22.

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