Sixteen U16 curling teams have qualified for the BC Winter Games.
Eight boys’ teams and eight girls’ teams have triumphed in their respective zones to earn the chance to compete at the Games in Kamloops from February 22-25. Curling will take place at the Kamloops Curling Club.
This is the first year that the BC Winter Games curling event will be for U16 curlers. It was previously a U17 event.
The 16 curling teams will be among the 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials from all over British Columbia who will compete in 19 sports. The athletes will take part in an opening ceremonies at the Sandman Centre. One qualifying spot for girls and one qualifying spot for boys was available from all 8 BC Winter Games zones, but some zones had either one or zero entries so playdowns were not held. Playdowns were held from Jan. 12-14 in those zones that required them.
Among the qualifiers is Team Starchuk from Grand Forks. The team qualified in Zone 1 (Kootenays) and is made up of skip Olivia Starchuk, third Payton Maffioli, second Hannah Bartlett, lead Lisa Sheets and coach Leigh Wilson Starchuk. Playdowns were not required for the boys’ team, but the Rice rink from Elkford will attend the Games. The rink is made up of Levi Rice, Mosese Ratudradra, Riley Murray, Declan Cook, Kyler Bolton and coach Bob Rice.
With no Zone 8 teams entered into events, two extra berths (one extra girls’ berth and one extra boys’ berth) were awarded to Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan). Two girls’ teams from Kamloops qualified. The girls teams were Team Calhoun from Kamloops and Team Hafeli from Kamloops. Team Calhoun is made up of skip Maeve Calhoun third Neave Calhoun, second Natasha Olmstead, lead Kate Hancock and coach Lori Olsen. Team Hafeli is made up of skip Holly Hafeli, third Hannah O’Neil, second Jorja Kopytko, lead Natalie Hafeli and coach Monica Makar.
Two boys’ teams from Zone 2 also qualified.The boys teams that qualified were the Penticton/Summerland rink of Matthew Lowery and the Kamloops rink of Bryan Yamada. The Lowery rink is made up of skip Matthew Lowery, third Ryan Trip, second Zack Kuechle, lead Jacob Martin and coach Brian Lyall. The Yamada rink is made up of skip Bryan Yamada, third Daniel Griffiths, second Nolan Bottineau, lead Alexander Landygo and coach Raymond Olsen.
The Zone 3 (Fraser Valley), 4 (Fraser River), and 5 (Vancouver Coastal) playdowns were all held at Coquitlam Curling Club. Ashley Mallett’s Langley/Chilliwack/Golden Ears rink was successful in Zone 3. The rink is made up of skip Ashley Mallett, third Kaelen Coles-Lyster, second Naomi Britz, lead Mackenzie Duffill, fifth Jensen Recksiedler and coach Marla Mallett. The Zone 3 Golden Ears Winter Club rink of Thomas Reed qualified without having to playdown. The team is made up of Thomas Reed, Brendan Nichols, Matthew White, Miles Reed, Spencer Faulkner and coach Rob Smith.
The Zone 4 boys’ team also had Coquitlam connections. It was made up of skip Connor Kent, third Alex Duncan-Wu, second Eugene Fei, lead Matthew Fenton, fifth Adam Fenton and coaches Darren Kent and Brad Fenton. The Zone 4 girls hail from Peace Arch Curling Club and include skip Kiana Holland, third Tanis Short, second Gemma Cooper-Smith, lead Chantelle Home and coach Edward Holland.
The Zone 5 girls are skip Jensen Taylor, third Meredith Cole, second Keira McCoy, lead Chelsea Taylor and coaches Brian Cole/Suzanne Malfair. The Zone 5 boys qualified without having to playdown. Skip Johnson Tao from Richmond Curling Centre had previously qualified for the 2018 Boston Pizza BC Junior Curling Championships, an event for U21 teams. The team is made up of Johnson Tao, Michael Nunn, Noah Argao, Jack Bradley and coach Paul Hazell.
From Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast), the Comox Valley Curling Club rink of Gracelyn Richards qualified. The team is rounded out by third Chanelle Meeres, second Keelie Duncan, lead Bryn Woloshyn and coach Sarah Hassall. The team had previously qualified for the U18 championships being held in Salmon Arm from March 12-18. On the boys’ side, the Zone 6 reps are Team Drought from Juan de Fuca and Kerry Park. The team is made up of skip Zack Drought, third Sampson McNeil, second Cohen Dawson, lead Anthony Budden, and coach Len Chilibeck.
From the North West (Zone 7), Team Kildaw from Smithers and Team Rigoni from Hirsch Creek (Kitimat) qualified without having to playdown. The Smithers rink is made up of Oliver Kildaw, Duncan Kildaw, Brett Pierce, Alex Chaplin, Kristopher Mclean and coach Laurence Turney. The Kitimat team is made up of Gemma Rigoni, Kate Durrant, Andrea Watt, Ally Feduniak, Eryn Czirfusz and coach Dave Durrant.