Team Sato will be going to nationals, that is for sure.
But it remains to be seen whether they will wear the BC crest or not.
That’s because the team from Royal City Curling Club has earned a bye to the final – and that means either a first or second place finish. And this year, because BC is hosting the nationals in Langley and because Nunavut could not field a junior men’s team for nationals, two BC men’s teams will compete.
The team has been undefeated through round robin play and will want to keep that perfect record so they can earn the embroidered hearts that go to the first-place team and the BC crest that comes with the gold medal.
Hayato Sato said: “It’s huge. It’s the first time we get to go to junior nationals. I mean I’ve been to Canada Winter Games and U18s, but this is a step up and it leads to a worlds if we are fortunate enough to make it that far.”
He said knowing that they would be going to nationals going into the finals would take some pressure off. “I think it takes a little bit of weight off our shoulders, knowing we’re going to nationals, but I would still like to get out there and put on a good show in the finals and definitely get that Team BC jacket.”
The other team to join them at nationals will be Team Tao or Team Colwell. The teams both had 5-1 records going into the last round robin draw where they met each other. The Tao team from Richmond, Vancouver and Port Moody curling clubs took the second place spot after an 8-6 win. The Colwell team, from Vernon, Kamloops and Grand Forks, were silver medalists at last year’s juniors and won gold at the U18 level. They also earned a silver medal at U18 nationals. Team Tao and Team Colwell will play in the semis tomorrow (Jan. 1) at 10:00 a.m. PST.
In Junior women’s play, Team Buchy from Kimberley, Vernon and Kelowna curling clubs have earned the bye to the final after finishing with five wins and two losses. Although their record was the same as Team Taylor and Team Daniels, they defeated both of those teams, putting them at the top of the table.
Kaila Buchy, who was the BC champion at the U18 level in 2019 and earned a bronze at nationals, said she was incredibly happy to be in the position they were in. “I think we have all worked together really well this week and have done well keeping each other positive. I think we have executed well for not having been able to play together much this year.”
Team Taylor, representing Royal City and Tunnel Town curling clubs, finished in second place and Team Daniels (Delta Thistle Curling Club) finished in third place. The teams play each other in the semis tomorrow (Jan. 1) at 3:00 p.m. PST.
The 2020 BC Junior Curling Championships are taking place at Victoria Curling Club.
The teams all voted for sportsmanship and coach winners at the event and the presentations took place at 2:00 p.m. today. Gracelyn Richards from Team Richards was the junior women’s Flora Martin Sportsmanship Award winner and Mack Ellis from Team Carpenter was the junior men’s Gordon Hooey Sportsmanship Award winner. Coach Dale Hofer from Team Colwell won the Asham Coaching Award for the junior men and Coach Monica Makar from Team Hafeli won the Asham Coaching Award for the junior women.
The top two junior men’s teams and the top junior women’s team will travel to the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships which takes place from Jan. 18-26, 2020, at the George Preston Recreation Centre and Langley Curling Club.
Full team rosters of playoff teams:
Team Sato, Royal City
Skip: Hayato Sato
Third: Matthew McCrady
Second: Joshua Miki
Lead: Jacob Umbach
Coaches: Bryan Miki/Brent Pierce
Team Tao, Richmond/Vancouver/Port Moody
Skip: Johnson Tao
Third: Toby Mills
Second: Connor Kent
Lead: Michael Nunn
Coach: Vic Shimizu
Team Colwell, Vernon/Kamloops/Grand Forks
Skip: Erik Colwell
Third: Mitchell Kopytko
Second: Ben Morin
Lead: Logan Miron
Coach: Dale Hofer/Chad Kopytko
Team Buchy, Kimberley/Kelowna/Vernon
Skip: Kaila Buchy
Third: Jaelyn Cotter
Second: Katelyn McGillivray
Lead: Cassidy Schwaerzle
Fifth: Samantha Mclaren
Coaches: Tom Buchy/Jim Cotter
Team Taylor, Tunnel Town/Royal City
Skip: Jensen Taylor
Third: Meredith Cole
Second: Keira McCoy
Lead: Chelsea Taylor
Coach: Chris Summers
Team Daniels, Delta Thistle
Skip: Sarah Daniels
Third: Sarah Loken
Second: Hannah Lindner
Lead: Jordan Henson
Coach: Katie Witt