Vernon rink bags bronze in curling

Club champions in Vernon, third best in the province.

Club champions in Vernon, third best in the province.

The Vernon Curling Club’s men’s champion rink of skip Kevin Geistlinger, third Jonathan Gardner, second Ian Veitch and lead Wayne Ovens won the bronze medal at the 16th Pacific International Cup tournament at the Richmond Curling Club.

The event served as the qualifier for the 2015 Travelers Canadian Club championships in November in Ottawa.

“Our first goal was to make the medal round,” said Geistlinger, who won the provincial club final in 2009 with Darren Heath, Kevin Pickering and Dan Colton, and lost the Canadian final that year in an extra end.

“It was a good experience. We were happy to come back with a medal. The guys (Gardner, Veitch, Ovens) loved it. It was their first time and we were treated so well.”

Geistlinger qualified for the semifinal of the eight-team B.C. pool by going 5-2 in the round-robin, winning his last four games, 6-4 over Scott Peet of Creston, 5-3 against Norm Richard of Richmond, 9-1 over Brad Zealand of Port Hardy and 9-4 versus Gerald Poelman of Duncan.

That put the Vernon champs into the Saturday semifinal against Jeff Guignard of Vancouver (6-1), who beat Geistlinger 10-7 in draw three of the preliminary round.

This time, Guignard scored a 7-5 win over Geistlinger to earn a berth in the final against undefeated Kevin Britz of Chilliwack (7-0).

“The ice was difficult and we struggled with it at times during the week,” said Geistlinger. “It was fast ice, too, and we just weren’t as sharp as the Vancouver team.”

Britz defeated Guignard 7-5 to win the provincial championship and earn a spot in the event’s final against the 10-team International Pool champion, Greg Wilson of Illinois.

Britz needed an extra end to beat the Americans 5-4. Skipped by Greg Wilson and featuring Michael Rane, Colin Rittgers and Lloyd Yanis, the Illinois rink from suburban Chicago won the international men’s pool with a 6-3 victory over Yukon.

Leanne Andrews of Cloverdale iced Washington  State’s Claire Bonin 9-5 in the women’s final,

Earlier in the day, Andrews’ Cloverdale team secured a berth in the Travelers with an 8-2 upset of previously-undefeated Campbell River (Island North) in the B.C. women’s final.

Chilliwack matched Cloverdale’s feat in the men’s division, winning both the B.C. and PIC championships. Britz’s Fraser Valley rink also  featured James Crawford, Darren Jarvis and Ken Britz) and went undefeated in nine games, sweeping through the round-robin