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Kamloops skip adds Prestige in Vernon to impressive resumé

Two-time reigning B.C. champ Corryn Brown, rink from Japan win Vernon Curling Classic cash

A rink from Kamloops prevented a Japanese sweep of the top dollars from the Prestige Hotels and Resorts Curling Classic at the Vernon Curling Club.

Team Brown, featuring Corryn Brown at skip, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes, lead Samantha Fisher, and coached by Vernon’s Jim Cotter, defeated Ikue Kitazawa and her rink from Nagano, Japan, 5-4 in a thrilling women’s final Sunday, Oct. 2.

The victory, worth $7,000 for the Kamloops quartet, came about 30 minutes after Riku Yanagisawa defeated countryman Kohsuke Hirata 6-2 in seven ends in the all-Japan men’s championship. Yanagisawa pocketed $4,000 for the win.

Brown, the 2020 and 2021 B.C. women’s champion, snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring a pair in seven, then watched as Kitazawa’s last stone in the eighth and final end was heavy as she attempted a draw for two to force an extra end.

Brown also defeated Kitazawa 7-6 in the first day of the event.

Kitazawa’s squad collected $5,000.

Brown, who finished 5-1 in Vernon, had a bye into the semifinals, and advanced to the championship with a 7-5 extra end victory over Korea’s Eun Ji Gim.

Kitazawa started the playoff day Sunday with a quarterfinal victory, 7-6 in an extra end, over countrywoman, two-time Olympic medalist Satsuki Fujisawa, then whipped Edmonton’s Jessie Hunkin 8-1 in four ends in the semis.

Vernon-Prince George rink of Diane Gushulak, Brette Richards, Blaine DeJager and Alyssa Kyllo went 2-2 but missed the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the team from Karuizawa, a resort town in the mountains near 1998 Olympic Winter Games host Nagano, defeated the fellows from Kitami, a city on Hokkaido Island almost 1,500 kilometres to the north, in the all-Japan men’s final.

Yanagisawa was undefeated on the weekend in Vernon. Hirata was 4-1. Both Japanese skips, former Olympians, earned byes into the semifinals.

Yanagisawa defeated Kelowna’s Brent Pierce 6-3 while Hirata knocked off Sean Geall of New Westminster 7-4.

Hirata’s rink collected $3,000.

Vernon players John Slattery and Erik Coldwell helped Penticton’s Cameron de Jong reach the quarterfinals, where they fell 6-4 to Geall, who scored three with the hammer in the final end.

Vernon quartets skipped by Dave Merklinger (Darren Heath, Jamie Austin, Al Shepherd) and Rob Nobert (Adam Cseke, Logan Miron, Cam Weir) went 1-2.

The Vernon-Salmon Arm rink of Nolan Blaser, Kaden Beck, Nolan Beck and Koen Hampshire went 0-3, which included losses to Nobert, Hirata and 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Shuster of Duluth, Minn. (Shuster went 2-2).

• Next up at the Vernon Curling Club is the Nufloors Mixed Doubles Curling Classic, set for Oct. 21-23.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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