Mississauga/Toronto, ON (ISN) – Twenty-four teams, (12 women’s and 12 men’s) entered this year’s Optimist International U-18 Curling Championships. After five draws, an exciting semi-finals, and a thrilling finish, British Columbia’s Corryn Brown and Manitoba’s Kyle Doering are the 2012 Optimist International U-18 Curling champions.

After a solid start and a shaky few middle ends, Brown and her team of Lead, Sydney Fraser, Second, Samantha Fisher and Third, Erin Pincott maintained their composure for the rest of the game to come out on top. Kelsey Rocque tried to go for the tie with a runback in the final end, but missed her last shot by a couple of inches.

“More so than anything they got a little more tentative than usual,” said coach Kenneth Brown of his team’s performance in the finals. “I told them during a timeout that we had to make the other team make shots.”

The words of encouragement paid off, as and the team picked up their game and stole their way to a gold medal.

In the men’s gold medal match, both teams were cautious with their strategy in the first end. Momentum changed when Manitoba’s Kyle Doering stole a point after Quebec skip Felix Asselin came up light on a draw. After four the fourth end, Manitoba took a two point lead and came close to letting the Quebec team back into the game after a late charge.

“We really persevered and I felt we were in complete control of the whole game,” said Doering. “Felix made a great shot in seven, a game saver. Their whole team played great.”

After a tough loss in the morning, the Manitoba women rebounded with a strong performance in the bronze medal match against Wisconsin. The team took a commanding lead at the halfway point and never looked back with a 6-3 victory.

“The girls refocused a bit,” said coach Howard Restall. “They wanted to go out there as winners and performed what they were capable of.”

The men’s bronze medal game went right to the final end. BC had a three point lead after the first end, but a single in the third and steals in the fourth and fifth ends got Ontario right back in game.

“We needed to get back into our mindset and get calm,” said third, Jordan Tardi. Brother and skip Tyler Tardi played a strategic eighth end and secured the win for his squad.

Teams gathered one final time for the closing ceremonies where medals were presented to the winners. Family, friends and spectators were in attendance making this year’s event a success.

“What an incredible experience!” said Al Kersey, Optimist International Committee Member. “By the end of the week, we felt like family and we were. The kids were so eager to go home and help mentor the next generation of curlers.”

Next year’s event will be heading back out west. Congratulations to all the participants and see you next year!

For more information about the Optimist International U-18 Curling Championships, please visit our website http://www.gtau18curling.com.

About the Championships

The Optimist International U-18 Curling Championships is celebrating its twelfth year as an event designed to promote youth curling. Developed in 1999 by Bill Hans of the Calgary Youth Association and beginning in 2001, the event has been held in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 2012 marks the second year that Toronto will play host to this event. Previously known as the Optimist Western Canada Juvenile Curling Championships and the Optimist International Juvenile Curling Championships, the event has featured notable curlers such as Chelsea Carey, Kaitlyn Lawes, Breanne Meakin, Rachel Homan, Derek Samagalski, Charley Thomas, and Matt Wozniak.