PSC shines in curling zones

Not only was it a gold medal win, it was a huge boost of confidence heading into what will prove to be a tough provincial championship.

The PSC girls' curlers concentrate Friday

The PSC girls' curlers concentrate Friday

Not only was it a gold medal win, it was a huge boost of confidence heading into what will prove to be a tough provincial championship.

The Ponoka Secondary girls’ curling foursome consisting of skip Nikki Smith, third Courtney Chesterman, second Gabrielle Bloomquist and lead Isabell Stamm survived two scary ends to end up winning the zone championship at the Ponoka Curling Club on Saturday, Feb. 27, needing an extra end to upend Chauvin by count of 10-7.

Ponoka is hosting the provincial high school curling championship, which starts tomorrow (Mar. 3) at the Ponoka Curling Club, meaning they already had a berth locked up, but the win is certainly going to help the team.

“It’s fantastic,” said coach Kelly Smith.

“I thought we had it wrapped up as the girls were up two in the eighth (and final end), but when you have lots of rocks in play, anything can happen.”

The gold medal game was close until the seventh when Ponoka made the most of a couple of Chauvin mistakes to score three and take a two-point advantage to the final end. However, the girls’ strategy made for some nervous coaches, parents and fans as they kept a number of rocks around that eventually allowed Chauvin to tie it with an easy draw for a pair.

They kept up that strategy, even with last rock in the extra end, causing even further fingernail-chewing in the gallery as they lay three with skip rocks to come and a couple of possible ways for Chauvin to reach the four-foot for shot.

However, the paths proved too difficult to navigate and Ponoka didn’t have to throw their final stone to earn the gold.

“We haven’t beaten (Chauvin) in three years, it’s kind of been a curse we have finally gotten off our backs,” added Smith.

As for the Ponoka mixed foursome, the three Grade 10 students and one Grade 11 student wound up with a great finish taking silver in a loss to Chauvin.

“They played fantastic, especially considering this was a team that was only put together two weeks ago,” Smith explained.

“We were initially going to go into the provincials with just a boys and a girls team, but we had enough commitment from the kids so we just went for it.”

The mixed team might have had a different outcome, but they played the three games in a row on Saturday their final round robin game in the morning followed by the semifinal at noon and then the final later that afternoon.

“They were simply so tired. I think they just didn’t have the concentration there anymore,” Smith added.

As for the boys, Smith said they didn’t have the best of days at the area playoffs the weekend before so they didn’t get a berth into the zone playoff. However, he doesn’t think that will affect them when they play as the host team at provincials this week. He believes they are still going to contend for a medal just like the girls and the mixed teams.

“They are all going to be competitive as long as they curl their best,” he stated.

All six sheets at the club will be in play as action starts Thursday, March 3 with draws at 2 and 4:30 p.m. and the championship banquet slated for that evening. Friday, March 4 will see a 9 a.m. draw followed by the opening ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. with three more draws 12:30, 3 and 5:30 p.m. that day. Any tiebreakers will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 5 with the medal round to go a noon and finals at 3 p.m.

If there are no tiebreakers, the semifinals will run at 9 a.m. with the medal games to go at noon.