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Sweeping curling coverage

Junior nationals Abby Marks of St. Albert is curling at her second nationals and the first in the U21 division.
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TEAM ALBERTA – The provincial junior championship rink of, from left, coach Amanda Dawn St. Laurent (nee Coderre), a St. Albert curling product, skip Selena Sturmay, third Abby Marks of St. Albert, second Kate Goodhelpsen and lead Paige Papley of the Saville Centre U21 excel program qualified for Sunday's final at nationals in Prince Albert, Sask. Two years ago, Marks won the Optimist provincials as a skip and finished fifth at the inaugural U18 nationals.

Junior nationals

Abby Marks of St. Albert is curling at her second nationals and the first in the U21 division.

Marks is the third for the Alberta junior championship rink with skip Selena Sturmay of Leduc, second Kate Goodhelpsen of Edmonton and lead Paige Papley of Leduc County.

The foursome were 9-0 with one game left Friday before entering Sunday's final in Prince Albert, Sask. The winner advances to worlds, Feb. 16 to 23 in Liverpool, N.S.

St. Albert curling product Amanda Dawn St. Laurent (nee Coderre) is the coach of the Saville Centre U21 excel program team.

At the inaugural U18 Optimist nationals in 2017, Marks finished fifth with her Alberta championship rink of Papley, Jamie Scott and Brittany Brezinski.

Last year Marks finished as the U18 and U21 provincial finalist as skip.

The École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville graduate was also the runner-up as skip in the U21 Battle of the Champions final at the third annual Marc Kennedy Junior Classic last year and in 2017 at the St. Albert Ladies Bonspiel and the 54th annual Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions.

Sturmay was the winning skip at the 2016 provincials and Goodhelpsen was the second for Kristen Streifel’s rink, with St. Laurent as the coach, that won Alberta and nationals and bronze at worlds in 2017.

Team Sturmay finished 7-3 at provincials earlier this month in Okotoks, and the last three wins were the 8-2 tiebreaker against Catherine Clifford of the Saville Centre for third place in the round robin, 8-7 with a deuce in 10 against Jessica Wytrychowski of Airdrie in the semifinal and 7-6 against Kayla Skrlik of Calgary in the final. Skrlik stole three in seven and Sturmay replied with one in eight and stole a pair of deuces in nine and 10 for the championship victory.

Mixed bonspiel

Sweeping action is underway in the St. Albert Mixed Bonspiel.

The 20-rink draw ends with Sunday’s finals at 2:30 p.m.

Doug McLennan returns as the defending champion. Last year’s A final in the 22-team competition was a St. Albert affair with McLennan, third Holly Jamieson, second Colin Jenkins and lead Christina Monk winning 8-3 in six ends against Fred Caron’s lineup of Kim Zaskar, Rica Caron and Neil McKay.

This year’s theme is Tonight We’re Gonna to Party Like it’s 1949 as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the St. Albert Curling Club.

Senior playdowns

The 2018 world senior (50-plus) men’s curling champions qualified for provincials as winners of the A final in last week’s northern playdowns.

The Wade White rink of third Barry Chwedoruk, second Dan Holowaychuk of St. Albert and lead George White outlasted Doug Zingel of Vermilion 7-6 to finish 4-0 at the 17-team draw at the Avonair.

The provincial champions the last two years scored a deuce in eight after the seventh end was blanked.

The Lac La Biche-based team gave up steals of two in three to trail 4-2 and one in six for a 6-5 deficit.

A three spot in four made it 5-4 for the 2017 Canadian champions and 2018 fifth-place finishers at 6-4 in the championship pool at nationals.

The third senior nationals in six years for Holowaychuk was 2013 with White, Doug McLennan of St. Albert and George Parsons as bronze medallists.

Holowaychuk, the alternate for the legendary Ferbey Four, and McLennan are St. Albert Curling Club wall of fame inductees.

Joining the White rink at provincials, Feb. 13 to 17 at Spruce Grove, is Kevin Park of the Crestwood as the B qualifier, 5-1 over Zingel in the final, and the St. Albert rink of skip Randy Guidinger, McLennan at third, second Conrad Yaremchuk and lead Lyle Biever.

The fourth win in the C bracket and sixth in eight games was 6-4 against Zingel in the final as Guidinger recorded deuces in four to lead 3-1 and in six to make it 5-2. Zingel replied with a deuce in seven and Guidinger closed it out with a single in eight.

The opening game in the C bracket was the 5-4 extra-end result against Allan Balascak of Sherwood Park and the 7-6 semifinal against Colin Tanton of Wainwright was also decided in the ninth end.

Nationals are March 22 to 28 in Chilliwack, B.C., for the right to represent Canada at the 2020 worlds. This year’s worlds are in Norway and Bryan Cochrane of Russell, Ont., is the Canadian rep.

At the 17th annual senior worlds last year in Sweden, the ninth win in 10 games for the White foursome was the 8-2 triumph in six ends against Mats Wrana, the two-time defending champion and home-country favourite. Twenty-eight countries were represented in the men’s draw.

Jeff Hansen

About the Author: Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.
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