Bryan Yamada’s gold-medal victory in curling at the BC Winter Games was a popular one as the home-ice favourite delivered fans at the Kamloops Curling Centre the win during the provincial competition.
Yamada and his team featuring Daniel Griffiths at third, Nolan Bottineau at second, lead Zander Landygo and coach Raymond Olsen defeated Johnson Tao’s rink of third Michael Nunn, second Noah Argao, lead Jack Bradley and coach Paul Hazell of Richmond 9-6 in the championship game.
Divided into two pools of four teams, Yamada and Tao traded big ends early in the offensive outburst over eight ends.
After a blank opening end, Yamada grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second and stole two more in the third before Tao bounced back with a three-ender of his own in the fourth. Yamada rebounded with his second three of the game in the fifth to pull away.
It was a much different result than the round-robin matchup in pool play where Yamada stole one in the seventh and eighth ends to win 4-2. The last steal required a measurement in the tight result.
Yamada had topped Pool A with a 3-0 record before defeating Connor Kent of Coquitlam 7-2 to determine one finalist. Tao, who was 2-1 in pool play, doubled Matthew Lowery of Penticton/Summerland 8-4 in the other semi-final. Lowery and Kent had both finished 2-1 in Pool B.
Kent – with Alex Duncan-Wu at third, Eugene Fei at second, Matthew Fenton at lead, fifth Adam Fenton and coach Brad Fenton – downed Lowery and his team of third Ryan Trip, second Zack Kuechle, lead Jaco Martin and coach Brian Lyall, 7-3 to take the bronze medal.
In BC Winter Games girls’ play, Gracelyn Richards’ team from the Comox Valley defeated Holly Hafeli of Kamloops 9-5 in the championship game to get through the week undefeated.
Richards with Chanelle Meeres at third, Keelie Duncan at second, Bryn Woloshyn at lead and coach Sarah Hassall also defeated Jensen Taylor of Royal City/Tunnel Town by the same 9-5 score in the semifinal, while Hafeli upset Maeve Calhoun of Kamloops 7-2 in the other.
Calhoun was 3-0 in Pool A, just ahead of Taylor at 2-1, while Richard was 3-0 in Pool B with Hafeli at 2-1. Calhoun, with third Neave Calhoun, second Natasha Olmstead, lead Kate Hancock and coach Lori Olsen, then outlasted Taylor 9-8 to claim the bronze.
Taylor’s team is rounded out by Meredith Cole at third, Keira McCoy at second, Chelsea Taylor at lead and coach Brian Cole.