It was a great weekend for Gerry Austgarden from Kelowna, who claimed his fifth BC Wheelchair Curling title.
The skip was joined by 2010 Paralympic champion Darryl Neighbour, from Richmond, at third, as well as first-time champion Bob Macdonald and returning champion Janice Ing. The team was coached by Brad Burton.
Winning the BC title will mean another trip to nationals for Austgarden, who got his first taste of a Canadian championship in 2004, and then traveled again in 2005 (as the second BC team), 2010, 2012 and 2015.
The nationals take place in Boucherville, Que, from April 24-30, 2017. Austgarden led his team to victory at the national level in Boucherville in 2015 and will look to repeat the feat.
Neighbour will be on his sixth trip to nationals. He has also competed in three world wheelchair championships, winning gold at two of them.
The 2017 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship took place at Richmond Curling Club from January 27-29.
It featured three wheelchair curling teams including one skipped by Prince George’s Frank LaBounty, last season’s champion, as well as BC wheelchair curling veterans Alison Duddy, Ellis Tull, Vince Miele and coach Karen Watson. Team LaBounty got the silver medal.
Team Sticks and Stones, featuring skip Cyril Kinakin, third Mark Peeren, second Tracy Boyd, lead Zosia Ettenberg, were awarded bronze medals. The team from Langley and Kelowna features mostly newcomers to competitive wheelchair curling. The discipline is a Paralympic event.