Just for fun, Jaelyn Cotter and her father, Jim, break down curling video and discuss shot making.
They also spend hours together in the rings and until the B.C. Mixed Doubles Curling Championships started Friday in Enderby, had only curled together in a fun bonspiel last year in Vernon.
Jaelyn, who turns 16 a week Thursday, read the rules and tried on her game jacket the night before the playdowns.
It was like Jim brought a clone to the provincials as the Cotters cruised to gold in the 17-rink affair, stopping Andrew Forrest/Becky Campbell of Vancouver 8-5 in Sunday’s final.
The Cotters advance to the 32-team nationals, March 31, April 3, in Saskatoon. The worlds go April 16-23 in Karlstad, Sweden. Mixed doubles will make its Olympic debut at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“It was such an amazing experience,” said Jaelyn, a Grade 10 Fulton student. “I have always wanted to go in this event with my dad and we’ve been talking about it for about a year. I tried to have faith, but I didn’t expect to win in our first try.”
Jaelyn threw first and final rock in every end. Each team has only six stones and one of those stones from each team is prepositioned on the centre line before every end of play. Both curlers may sweep.
“We throw a lot together and I coach her (junior) team so we’re pretty tight,” said Jim, 41. “It was an emotional moment when we won. It’s a different game but her and I would discuss strategy normal to what (Kuhn) Ryan and I would do in the house. It was really good we could talk like that with the B.C. Winter Games coming up.”
Jaelyn’s Vernon juvenile rink opens play Friday at the Games in Penticton. Jim, Kuhn and company will represent B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier, March 5-13, in Ottawa.
Jim and Jaelyn opened the B.C.s by icing Chris Medford/Brenna Baker of Cranbrook 11-5 before ambushing Scott Kryski/Natasha Cummings of Langley 15-2 and grounding Rob Nightingale and Brenda Noble of Enderby 10-1.
The Cotters brushed back Sarah Daniels/Jordan Tardi of New Westminster 11-4 in the semifinals. Daniels, of Delta, is a two-time B.C. junior women’s champion who skipped her rink to a silver medal at the 2016 nationals. Tardi, of Surrey, bagged bronze at the national junior men’s finals.
The Cotters beat Kryski/Cummings 8-3 in the quarters.
Jaelyn began tossing rocks in the Little Rockers program at the Vernon club under her dad’s tutelage.
“I’m going to keep curling for as long as I can,” she said. “My dream is to make it to a Scotties (Canadian women’s tournament).”
Jaelyn’s cousin Elijah Meixner, Katelyn McGillvray and longtime teammate Cassidy Schwaerzle round out her Winter Games’ foursome. The Games are also doubling as the provincial juvenile (under 16 playdowns).
Okanagan rinks also struck gold at the B.C. Seniors Championships in Richmond.
Former world junior champion and Brier veteran Bob Ursel of Kelowna ruled the men’s playdowns, crushing Wes Craig of Victoria 7-2 in Sunday’s final.
Ursel, 51, is backed by former Vernonite Dave Stephenson, Fred Thomson and Don Freschi. They move to the Everest Canadian Seniors, March 28-April 2, in Digby, N.S.
Ursel’s wife, Leanne, will join him at the nationals after she threw third stones for Diane Foster’s gold-medal Kelowna senior women’s rink.
Foster has Cindy Curtain at second and Vernon’s Sherry Heat at lead. Foster went 4-3 in preliminary play before clipping undefeated Marilou Richter of Penticton/Vancouver 5-4 in the final.