Growing up together in the curling rinks meant it was only a matter of time before Alysha Buchy, Haylie Farquhar and Julia and Kira Dereniwsky started throwing rocks together as a team.
The four Kimberley girls have teamed up and managed to curl their way through two mini-tournaments to earn the right to represent Selkirk Secondary and the Kootenay region at the B.C. high school curling championships this weekend in Kamloops.
Buchy skips the team, while Julia and Kira are the third and second, respectively, with Farquhar as lead.
Alysha Buchy is the 14-year-old daughter of Kimberley curler Tom Buchy, who has been active in the curling community in Kimberley for years and made appearances at the provincial and national levels of the game.
The elder Buchy, who is still active in competitive curling, plays the role of supporting dad, and also draws on his extensive experience to coach the four in their high school curling endeavours.
“[It’s] interesting and neat, because he’s been to nationals and I know when he comes out and says ‘You should play this shot or you should think about playing this’,” said Alysha, on what it’s like to have her dad as a coach. “I know he knows what he’s talking about, so it makes it easier.”
“Sometimes it’s hard because he is my dad and not just a coach.”
Alysha said watching her dad has shown her how to be a part of a team dynamic while learning the strategy behind curling.
She’s even begun to clean her rocks the same way as her father.
“We have the same mannerisms, I guess,” Alysha laughed.
Tom Buchy said it’s a different feeling being on the other side, where he’s not in control and can’t affect the outcome of a game that the girls are playing.
But he’s enjoyed watching Alysha and her friends grow up and develop their curling skills.
“It’s pretty special, because she’s had an interest in the game since she was quite young and we’d watch stuff on TV together and she’d ask a lot of questions, you know, why they play this or that,” said Tom Buchy.
“So to see her out there and making decisions on her own, it’s definitely special, but it’s also pretty cool seeing how these girls have developed and become a team and seeing how well they work together.”
The team has been curling together for roughly a year and decided that curling in the high school category would be a good start to see how tough the local competition was.
“We all just thought high school is a little less intense, so lets just go for that, so we gave it a try and have had some fun doing it,” said Kira Dereniwsky.
Like Alysha Buchy and Haylie Farquhar, the Dereniwsky sisters grew up in the Kimberley Curling Club, as their parents are curlers themselves.
Kira is in Grade 9, while Julia is in Grade 11. In addition to curling, Kira plays volleyball and basketball, while Julia golfs, even representing the region in the 2012 B.C. Summer Games.
The East Kootenay qualifier in Creston was the first step on the road to provincials.
“It’s was a chance to go and see what we worked on, if that’s going to do anything and see how it goes and we’ll be fine,” added Julia. “It turned out that we played really well that weekend and we won.”
They ended up defeating high school teams from Creston and Sparwood for the right to represent the East Kootenay, and then took down Nelson in a couple of games to earn the Kootenay region’s entry into the provincial tournament.
Farquhar, a Grade 8 student, said the team was pretty excited after winning their games in Nelson and everyone is confident going forward to Kamloops.
“I haven’t had any of the jitters yet because I know some teams there probably have been to provincials, and probably have been practicing as a high school group since Grade 8,” Farquhar said.”
“But the teams we faced in Creston were Grade 11 and 12 and we seemed to keep our heads up and stayed focused and just concentrated on each shot and tried to get something out of each shot.”
“We ended up doing good.”
Tom Buchy is quick to credit the girls for the way they’ve improved together as a team and hopes that they enjoy their experience in Kamloops, regardless of how they finish.
“Where they were three months ago, compared to where they are now, is amazing. Every time we come out for a practice or a game, they seem to advance a little more, and they’re still very young,” Buchy said.
“The rallying behind them from the club itself has created a lot of excitement from the club and people are just happy to see a junior team doing well.
“They’re very young, so we just want them to go there, have some fun, enjoy it and do the best they can, whatever the outcome is.”
The girls would like to thank the following for all their support: Larry Limacher, L & K Taxi, KD Mountain Construction, Kimberley Curling Club, Kimberley Elks Club, Kimberley Mixed Curling Club, Kimberley Snow Fiesta Committee, Ron & Sue Osterkampf, Selkirk PAC, Ted Phillips, Randy and Debra Krantz.