Teen athletes from Surrey and Delta curled their way to some hardware at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ont.
North Delta skip Sarah Daniels, 16, and her older sister, lead Megan Daniels, scored silver medals with Team B.C., which fell 9-5 in the women’s final of the tournament Sunday (Jan. 31).
On the men’s side, Cloverdale-based skip Tyler Tardi, 17, and his older brother, second Jordan Tardi, earned bronze with Team B.C. on Saturday (Jan. 30) following an 8-3 semifinal loss to Team Manitoba, the eventual champions.
The action was televised on TSN.
Daniels was named the tourney’s first-team all-star, as determined by shooting percentages during round-robin play.
“We’re all really proud of each other,” Daniels said. “I know there will be tears because it sucks to lose, but we’re really happy for Mary’s team because they’ve worked so hard, and they’ve waited for this for so long. We’re just going to take away everything we can from this. We’ve learned so much from this competition, and we’ll push harder to get better next year.”
Daniels was backed by third Marika Van Osch, second Dezaray Hawes, her sister Megan and coach Katie Witt.
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(PICTURED: Members of Team B.C. at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships.)
Tardi, meanwhile, is now preparing to curl in the Youth Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, from Feb. 12 to 21. On Team Canada he’ll join Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay and Karlee Burgess and fellow B.C. curler Sterling Middleton.
“It’s been 10 years, or something like that, since B.C. got on the podium in men’s (Tyrel Griffiths won silver in 2006),” said Tardi. “So I’ve got no sad thoughts; I’m pretty proud of the boys. They played great all week. Matt (Team Manitoba skip Dunstone) can make some pretty great shots; it’s hard to stop a team like that, but you have to have respect for that.”
Daniels, along with Van Osch, won bronze at the 2014 Canadian Juniors in Liverpool, N.S. Daniels said the experience of 2014 – she played second for Van Osch’s older sister Kalia – helped the B.C. team this year.
“Just playing on TV before has really given us that confidence to not be too camera-shy,” Daniels said prior to Team B.C.’s 7-3 win over Team New Brunswick in the semifinals. “Big games? I’m just happy to be there, win or lose.”
The Tardi team includes third Daniel Wenzek, lead Nick Meister and Tyler’s brother Jordan. They are coached by Paul Tardi, father of Tyler and Jordan.
Paul said the mixed doubles discipline, which will be an Olympic medal sport in 2018, has made Tyler a better curler.
“It does change his approach, for sure,” said Paul Tardi. “I’ve seen him get into those mixed doubles ends where there’s a lot of clustering, and you get used to seeing a lot of funny angles. And he’s able to think far enough ahead that he can get teams into an end where they don’t realize they’re in trouble, and you can’t get out of those ends.
“He can call a terrific game if the team is executing the shots. But if you’re not? It can be real trouble; it’s a fine line there.”