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Okanagan-Shuswap curlers off to Canadian finals

Quartet skipped by Nolan Blaeser of Vernon wins B.C. U18 men’s championship in Richmond
The Vernon-Salmon Arm curling team of skip Nolan Blaeser (from left) of Vernon, Salmon Arm brothers Kaiden Beck and Nolan Beck, lead Koen Hampshire and coach Dale Hofer, both of Vernon, won the B.C. U18 men’s curling title in Richmond. (Facebook photo)

Revenge, it is said, is a dish best served cold.

Which certainly applies to a sheet of curling ice.

The Vernon-Salmon Arm rink of skip Nolan Blaeser of Vernon, third Kaiden Beck and his brother Nolan at second, both from Salmon Arm, and lead Koen Hampshire of Vernon captured the B.C. Men’s U18 curling championship in Richmond.

Blaeser’s foursome defeated Adrian Tam of Port Moody 10-5 in the championship final Friday, Dec. 30. The win avenged the North Okanagan-Shuswap rink’s only defeat of the provincials, and 8-6 defeat in the A event final Thursday, Dec. 29.

Trailing the gold-medal game 5-3 after five ends, Blaeser took the lead for good with three in the sixth, and secured handshakes and the provincial title by stealing four in the seventh end.

Salmon Arm’s Austin Tomlinson threw third rocks for Tam.

The Blaeser rink, coached by Dale Hofer of Vernon, now advances to the Canadian championships in the hometown of Canadian country music legend Shania Twain, Timmins, Ont., Feb. 6-11.

Blaeser began the five-team provincials with a 9-6 win over Taj McKenzie of Vancouver-Delta, then advanced to the A final with a 7-1 romp over Liam Shelin of Comox Valley.

After losing to Tam, the Blaeser quartet earned a spot in the playoffs, winning the B event with a 9-3 decision over Casey Patterson of Dawson Creek.

Blaeser scored a 6-4 win over McKenzie in the B-C playoff game to advance to the championship against Tam.

On the seven-team women’s side, the Vernon-Kamloops rink skipped by Ava Arndt of Vernon went 1-3.

Arndt, who had Vernon’s Ivy Jensen at second, and Kamloops sisters Bethany (third), Jillian (lead) and Alicia (fifth player), opened the provincials with an 11-10 win over Erin Manning of Penticton. Arndt was then dropped to the B event following a 7-1 loss to Bryelle Wong of New Westminster-Vancouver.

Manning defeated Arndt 7-5 in the B event, and the Vernon-Kamloops team was eliminated in the C event following an 8-3 loss to Keelie Duncan of Comox, Duncan, Vancouver and Port Moody.

Holly Hafeli of Kamloops won the B.C. title and a trip to Timmins for the nationals with a 6-3 win over Duncan in the final. The Manning rink won bronze.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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