For the first time in 26 years, Ponoka has landed a medal in a provincial curling tournament.
Three Ponoka Secondary Campus teams curled their way through a challenging provincial tournament Thursday, March 3 to 5 with the girls landing a bronze medal for their efforts.
Skip Nikki Smith said she was pleased the team could come out with a medal as three of its members are graduating this year. “This is Ponoka’s second win overall.”
The last time Ponoka earned any medal in curling was a Ponoka women’s team in 1994, said Smith, and being able to nab a medal means a lot to the team. Getting to the playoffs seemed likely after the girls were undefeated in the regular round. The only team that caused them any trouble was Sundre, forcing the game to go into an extra end.
The girls ended up beating Sundre 8-7 in the regular round. Coming into playoffs, the girls ended up coming short against Morrin losing 10-4. Smith said they gave up a couple of big ends against Morrin, which affected their confidence. This led them to play Sundre again in the bronze medal match.
Coming into the eighth end, Ponoka was up 7-4 against Sundre. All they needed to do was take out their opponent’s rocks to make it harder to score. This way there were very few rocks in the end to cause them trouble. Once it was clear Sundre couldn’t score enough, they called the game.
Playing on Sheet 6 caused some added challenges for the opposition. Several times, Sundre attempted a shot that ended up going wide to the left and right of their intended shot. Ponoka had prepared for Sheet 6 and it paid off.
“The sheet can be very unpredictable … We figured out the ice early,” said Smith.
The boys and mixed teams didn’t make it to playoffs both ending up with records of one win and two losses.
Boys’ skip Matthew Jones said their first game against Manning was their biggest challenge, which they lost 9-2. Their second game against Slave Lake was a much tighter score, but still a loss at 8-7.
“It was back and forth and just amazing ends,” said Jones of the game.
A win against Slave Lake would have been possible had a takeout shot landed its mark. Despite the loss Jones said they went in to have fun over the course of the weekend. He was pleased with their 7-5 win against Claresholm after securing four points in the third end, which helped their overall total.
Mixed team coach Andrew Jones said their first game proved their strongest winning 6-3 against High Prairie. “It was a good opening game. All of our team came out.”
Their second game against Westlock was an 11-9 loss but at one point the team was down six points. Andrew said the thing that helped the mixed team was a positive attitude.
“They have fun. That’s the biggest thing,” said Andrew.
Their final game against Taber was a close 9-8 loss. It all came down to the final rock, said Andrew. The mixed team had a chance to take out Taber’s rocks and secure the win. “It missed and bumped theirs (Taber) in for two.”