Both Golden Ears Winter Club curling teams came away with some hardware after successful runs at the 2020 BC Winter Games in Fort St. John.
The squads mirrored each other in the round-robin portion of the tournament, going 3-0 and getting bys to the semi-finals.
Similarities did not end there.
They both lost to strong Island teams before rebounding with excellent performances to claim medals.
It was the first BC Winter Games tournament for the girl’s squad, who were made up of skip Amy Wheatcroft, third Ashley Dezura, second Brook Aleksic, lead Hannah Smeed, fifth Savannah Miley and coaches Diane Dezura, Shannon Joanisse and Georgina Wheatcroft.
They enjoyed soaking it all in.
“My team is really close, so it was a great experience with them,” said Aleksic who played both second and third for the squad.
Being so tightly knit helped them when out on the ice, she added.
“We had great communication and we worked well as a team, and even when we were struggling we stayed strong and positive and that really helped us,” Aleksic said.
Although her team played terrifically in the round robin, the game they will all remember is the bronze medal winner versus Team Trip from Penticton.
The 10-9 contest was a nail-biter of a match that came down to a key turning point.
“We were down one and took six in the sixth,” Aleksic said.
“We had a little bit of a struggle but we came back and it was great.”
The team’s coach had high hopes for the girls.
“We went into the event with the hopes of medaling but we knew the competition would be tough, so we just wanted to go out there and play really well,” Joanisse, said.
“The girls were so excited when they won the medal,” she continued.
“They were wearing them for the next ten hours.”
Two members of the boy’s team had played in the BC Winter Games before.
Skip Thomas Reed and third Mile Reed, brothers, competed in Kamloops in 2018.
They were joined by second Peter Sheridan, lead Sawyer Miley, fifth Wally Dezura and coach Rob Smith, who was also at the games in 2018.
A jump from fifth place to third was made on the backs of some strong shot making.
“Strategy wise, it’s still relatively similar,” said Smith.
“They’re at a level of calling the game [which was] pretty similar across the board for everyone they were playing ,but it was just the execution of shots that was improved this time over last time.”
Thomas Reed said experience played a big role.
“Definitely having two more years of curling under my belt helped,” he said.
“I think I played a lot better this time.”
A close 4-2 loss to Team Parkinson from the Comox/Qualicum area was all that separated the boys from a trip to the gold medal game.
“It was a tight game the whole way,” the skip said.
“I’d played them before and barely beat them, so we knew we were in for a tough game; and we played really well but they played really well too.”
Like the girl’s, the tough defeat did little to take away from their determination to get on the podium.
Team Reed hammered Team Wolfram from the Kootenays 10-1 to ensure they went home with a medal.
“That was our best game of the week,” Reed said.
“I can only think of one or two shots that we missed.”
Thomas and Miles Reed will try to continue their momentum when they compete in the U-18 tournament in Parksville this March.