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Vernon rinks medal in U18 provincials

Vernon rinks pocketed silver and bronze medals in Curl B.C.’s inaugural U18 finals Sunday in Nanaimo.
Vernon curling skip Thomas Love shouts instructions to his sweepers during play Saturday at the Curl B.C. U18 provincial championships at the Nanaimo Curling Centre.-Image Credit: Greg Sakaki/Black Press

Vernon rinks pocketed silver and bronze medals in Curl B.C.’s inaugural U18 championships Sunday at the Nanaimo Curling Centre.

Langley’s Tyler Tardi and Coquitlam’s Heather Drexel were the winning skips in the 16-team provincials.

Tardi, the defending Canadian junior men’s champion, brushed back Vernon’s Adam Raber 7-3 in the final. Tardi, who was supported by Sterling Middleton at third and a front end of Scott Gray and Derek Chandler, said he likes the idea of being B.C.’s first-ever U18 champ.

“It’s a pretty good feeling. I’ll take that any day,” said Tardi, coached by his father, Paul, and Bob Coulombe. “We got a little fortunate with the age restriction change, so we kind of put (in a team) for fun, but as soon as it started we got a little more competitive.”

Tardi and third Sterling Middleton had competed at worlds earlier this season and were the pre-tournament favourites in Nanaimo.

Middleton said his team played “full throttle” in the final, but also had some early luck with the opponent missing on shots.

“Once we had our lead, we were just trying to keep things clean and take our opportunities when they were there and I think we did a pretty good job doing that,” he said.

Raber shaded clubmate Thomas Love 7-6 in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, counting three in the third end to go ahead 4-2. Raber, who was backed by Vernon’s Ben Morin at third ana Salmon Arm front end of Andrew Cowell and Gray Simms, rang up singles in ends seven through nine. Dale Hofer coached the Raber foursome.

Love took the bronze medal by doubling Hayato Sato of New Westminster 8-4 Sunday. Love’s rink consisted of third Erik Colwell, second Brendan Chapple and lead Logan Miron. Dean Chapple is head coach.

Drexel defeated Prince George’s Carly Connor 5-2 in the girls’ final.

“This was the best we’ve played all weekend; this was definitely our best game,” said Drexel, backed by third Everly Royea, second Bailey Burke and lead Madeline Brita.

She and teammates shed tears after sharing their third provincial championship, having previously won twice at the juvenile level.

“Every time it’s just as emotional, it’s just as exciting,” she said.

Vernon’s Jaelyn Cotter won the consolation side gold medal by grounding Gracelyn Richards of Comox Valley 7-2 Sunday.

Cotter earlier ambushed Clare Schmidt of Winfield 10-2 and clipped Sarah Daniels of Delta 5-3. Cotter had Winter Harvey at third, Katelyn McGillivray at second and Cassidy Schwaerzke throwing first rocks. Brier veteran Jim Cotter coached the girls during the season but was in Nova Scotia for a cashspiel last weekend.