Vernon skip Brendan Cliff watches Matt Young (left) and Deven Schmidt tend to his rock at the B.C. Juvenile Curling Championships in Prince George

Vernon skip Brendan Cliff watches Matt Young (left) and Deven Schmidt tend to his rock at the B.C. Juvenile Curling Championships in Prince George

Cliff caps Juvenile career with bronze

Brendan Cliff's Armstrong-Vernon rink claims bronze at B.C. Juvenile Curling Championships in Prince George.

Brendan Cliff left today for a school trip which will take him from Italy to Greece.

Throw in a bronze medal the Vernon skip earned at the Tim Hortons B.C. Juvenile Curling Championships Sunday in Prince George, and it’s been a month to remember.

Cliff, a 16-year-old Pleasant Valley Secondary student, was hoping to finish March at the Optimist International U-18 playdowns, March 26-April 1 in Langley and Cloverdale.

Supported by third Matt Schiman and front-enders Deven Schmidt and Matt Young, Cliff brushed back Brayden Carpenter of New Westminster 7-5 in the bronze-medal game.

“We accomplished our goal of getting a medal,” said Cliff. “It wasn’t the one we wanted, but a medal is a medal. It’s a neat way to finish my Juvenile career.”

Cliff, who was coached by Sandy Farynuk of Enderby, now moves up to the junior level.

The Royal City crew made things interesting Sunday by counting four in the fourth end. Cliff replied with a deuce in five, a single in seven and a fabulous pair in eight.

The Cliff gang fought back from a 5-2 deficit to equalize 5-5 by the end of the eighth, forcing an extra end in which they did not have hammer.

Under pressure is how this team plays best and after Young set up a couple of good guards, both Schmidt and Schiman each put a rock on the button and then had them removed by the opposition, who also had guards up front and three rocks in the rings by this point.

With his first shot, Cliff made a “miraculous” double tap up of his own rocks that also resulted in a double-take out of Carpenter’s rocks for Team Cliff to count a deuce.

Carpenter missed his try at removing a rock off the button on his first shot, so Cliff placed a second guard out front of his rocks with his final stone, leaving Carpenter with one shot: a difficult angled double-runback that had to remove two of Cliff’s rocks. He tried, and ended up removing his own rocks, allowing Cliff to count two.

After winning the B event, Cliff bowed 7-2 to Zane Bartlett of Grand Forks in the C semifinal Saturday.

There was no dinner party to celebrate their medal finish.

“We rushed home and climbed in our own beds and had an incredible sleep,” laughed Cliff, who played in a fun junior windup Monday afternoon at the Vernon club under Brier-experienced coach Jim Cotter.

Kyle Habkirk of Coquitlam, who the Cliff rink never did face in Prince George,  bounced Bartlett 7-3 for the gold. Habkirk bagged a bronze medal at the provincial juniors (under 21) earlier this year.

The Coquitlam foursome, backed by third Nicholas Umbach, second Ryan Harbrink and lead Kento Sato, went unbeaten in the Juveniles.

On the girls’ side, Sarah Daniels of Delta won all her games for gold, outlasting Cierra Fisher of Kamloops 9-7 in the final.

Marika Van Osch of Juan De Fuca took bronze after beating Diamond Wilson of Prince George 7-3.

Sydney Hofer of Vernon went 0-3 in preliminary play to miss the playoffs. Third Erin Huitema and a front-end of Sarah Huitema and Emma Denty, rounded out the Hofer rink, coached by Dale Hofer.