Pictured: Team Wark, out of Abbotsford. Photo courtesy Rebecca Connop Price.

Battle of youth vs experience at 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook

Rebecca Connop Price

The 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook next week could become a showdown of youth versus experience.

That’s because teams with some of the youngest players at this level of competition have performed exceptionally well this year on the World Curling Tour circuit.

The 2020 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Best Western, and the 2020 BC Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Nufloors – Penticton, will go ahead at Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2. A full event pass is $90 – with individual draw tickets available from $10.

Both Team Tardi (Langley/Victoria) and Team Brown (Kamloops) were the province’s Canadian Team Ranking System top performers in 2019-20, which means they earned more points than any other BC team in competition throughout the season. The majority of the players from those teams are also under the age of 25.

However, they will be up against some of the most seasoned competitors in the sport — competitors that are used to winning a BC final. Defending champion Jim Cotter will be looking for his ninth trip to the Brier and will be returning with his team of Steve Laycock and Rick Sawatsky, adding Andrew Nerpin to replace Tyrel Griffith. On the women’s side, Team Wark will be returning with their lineup of skip Sarah Wark, third Kristen Pilote, second Carley Sandwith and lead Jen Rusnell. Wark is a BC champion at the junior level (2005), in Mixed competition in 2009 and 2014 and in the women’s game last season.

Team Brown, featuring skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Ashley Klymchuk, have put on some stellar performances this year, notably winning the China Open in December. They also have a Canadian gold medal at the junior level under their belt, but have yet to break through at the Scotties, winning a silver medal last year.

Sarah Wark said she liked seeing the younger teams on the roster and enjoyed playing against them. “It is super exciting to see so many younger ladies coming up through juniors and sticking with it, it’s definitely made BC’s field stronger.”

She added: “It definitely helps push the older generation to go with the way of the times in terms of fitness and new techniques and mentalities. I think we can learn equal amounts from them as they can from us really.”

Corryn Brown said her team was keen to keep the momentum that they have had this season going. “It’s been a really great season we have had a lot of success so we just want to keep that going. We are really looking forward to going to provincials and we know Cranbrook will put on a good event.”

Team Tardi, with skip Tyler Tardi, third Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi and lead Alex Horvath, are no strangers to pressure, having been to more than one junior world championship. (Tyler and Sterling were at three world championships, winning gold at two of them, Jordan went twice and won gold before aging out and Alex joined the team last year for their gold medal win in 2019).

Playing alongside Team Tardi and Team Cotter in the men’s competition will be BC Curling Tour winners Team Wenzek (Royal City) and Team Geall (Abbotsford/Royal City). The other teams in the mix include Team Dangerfield (Victoria), Team Montgomery (Victoria), Team Jackson (Victoria), Team Medford (Cranbrook), Team Wood (Penticton/Kelowna), Team Salviulo (Castlegar), Team Richard (Kelowna), Team Longworth (Vernon), Team Olsen (Kamloops), Team Joanisse (Golden Ears/Royal City), Team Dennis (Royal City/Salmon Arm) and Team Thompson (Vancouver).

In women’s play Team Daniels from Delta Thistle is another team featuring youth players (Skip Sarah Daniels and lead Sarah Loken are under 21). Meanwhile Team Gushulak from Royal City, Kelowna and Vancouver curling clubs features players with many BC Scotties appearances under their collective belts.

The four other women’s teams to have already qualified for the 2020 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Best Western, were Team Thompson (Kelowna) and Team Richards (Kelowna/Victoria) . Team Pewarchuk from Victoria and Team Slattery from Vernon/Kelowna qualified at the first open playdown in Abbotsford in December.

Ticket and event information for both the men’s and women’s championships is available at www.curlbc.ca/cranbrook-2020/.

For all remaining qualification events and for scores during the round robin (women) and triple knockout rounds (men) of the championships visit playdowns.curlbc.ca. The semi-finals and finals of the women’s and men’s events will be broadcast on CHEK and streamed at cbc.ca/sports/. The broadcast schedule is posted at www.curlbc.ca/live-streaming-broadcast-schedule/.

TEAM ROSTERS:

Men’s teams:

Defending Champions:

Team Cotter, Vernon and Kelowna Curling Clubs

Skip: Jim Cotter

Third: Steve Laycock

Second: Andrew Nerpin

Lead: Rick Sawatsky

CTRS Winner:

Team Tardi, Langley and Victoria Curling Clubs

Skip: Tyler Tardi

Third: Sterling Middleton

Second: Jordan Tardi

Lead: Alex Horvath

Coach: Paul Tardi

Tour Winner:

Team Wenzek, Royal City Curling Club

Skip: Daniel Wenzek

Third: Cameron de Jong

Second: Cody Tanaka

Lead: Nicholas Umbach

Tour Winner:

Team Geall, Abbotsford and Royal City Curling Clubs

Skip: Sean Geall

Third: Jared Kolomaya

Second: Sebastien Robillard

Lead: Nicholas Meister

Regional Qualifiers:

Team Dangerfield, Victoria Curling Club

Skip: Neil Dangerfield

Third: Denis Sutton

Second: Darren Boden

Lead: Glen Allen

Team Montgomery, Victoria Curling Club

Skip: Jason Montgomery

Third: Chris Baier

Second: Miles Craig

Lead: Will Duggan

Team Jackson, Victoria Curling Club

Skip: Glen Jackson

Third: Andrew Komlodi

Second: Jason Clarke

Lead: Joel Cave

Team Medford, Cranbrook Curling Centre

Skip: Chris Medford

Third: Steve Tersmette

Second: Mitch Young

Lead: Jeff Langin

Team Salviulo, Castlegar Curling Club

Skip: Nando Salviulo

Third: Jamie Ingram

Second: Cody Bartlett

Lead: Kevin Maffioli

Team Richard, Kelowna Curling Club

Skip: Jeff Richard

Third: Tyler Klymchuck

Second: Corey Chester

Lead: Rhys Gamache

Team Longworth, Vernon Curling Club

Skip: Mark Longworth

Third: Michael Longworth

Second: Rob Nobert

Lead: Cam Weir

Team Olsen, Kamloops Curling Club

Skip: Brad Thompson

Third: Grant Olsen (skip)

Second: Trevor Miyahara

Lead: Brent Yamada

Team Joanisse, Royal City/GEWC

Skip: Dean Joanisse

Third: Andrew Bilesky

Second: Steve Kopf

Lead: Aaron Watson

Fifth: Steve Petryk

Team Dennis, Royal City/Salmon Arm

Skip: Rob Dennis

Third: Doug Kilborn

Second: Brad Blackwell

Lead: Rick Miller

Coach: Greg McAulay

Team Thompson, Vancouver Curling Club

Skip: Aaron Thompson

Third: Jack Holmes

Second: Derek Smith

Lead: Scott Robertson

Team Wood, Vernon/Penticton curling clubs

Skip: Brad Wood

Third: Matt Tolley

Second: Nathan Small

Lead: John Slattery

Women’s teams

Defending champions:

Team Wark, Abbotsford Curling Club

Skip: Sarah Wark

Third: Kristen Pilote

Second: Carley Sandwith

Lead: Jen Rusnell

CTRS winner

Team Brown, Kamloops Curling Club

Skip: Corryn Brown

Third: Erin Pincott

Second: Dezaray Hawes

Lead: Ashley Klymchuk

Coach: Allison MacInnes

Tour Winner:

Team Thompson, Kamloops Curling Club

Skip: Karla Thompson

Third: Jodie Brennan

Second: Amanda Guido

Lead: Lanette Nordick

Coach: Darryl Horne

Tour Winner:

Team Richards, Kelowna and Victoria curling clubs

Skip: Brette Richards

Third: Blaine de Jager

Second: Steph Jackson-Baier

Lead: Rachelle Kallechy

Fifth: Patti Knezevic

Coach: David Harper

Team Pewarchuk, Victoria Curling Club

Skip: Dailene Pewarchuk

Third: Taylor Reese-Hansen

Second: Ashley Sanderson

Lead: Sydney Brilz

Coach: Todd Troyer

Team Slattery, Vernon/Kelowna curling clubs

Fourth: Alyssa Kyllo

Third: Sheila Cowan

Second: Shaina McGiverin

Lead/Skip: Kim Slattery

Team Daniels, Delta Thistle Curling Club

Skip: Sarah Daniels

Third: Kayla MacMillan

Second: Holly Horvat

Lead: Sarah Loken

Coach: Katie Witt

Team Gushulak, Royal City, Kelowna and Vancouver curling clubs

Skip: Diane Gushulak

Third: Grace MacInnes

Second: Megan McGillivray

Lead: Sandra Comadina

Coach: Neil Houston

Ticket and event information for both the men’s and women’s championships is available at www.curlbc.ca/cranbrook-2020/.

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