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It was mission accomplished on Sunday for the two winning skips at the Pepsi provincial junior curling championships.
Tyler Smith of Hunter River and Lauren Ferguson of Spring Valley entered the P.E.I.’s under-21 championship at the Crapaud Community Curling Club aiming to repeat.
They did just that as Smith went a perfect 4-0 (won-lost) en route to sweeping all three sections of the modified triple-knockout format.
“Any time you can win any event it always means a lot,” said Smith. “The junior championships is a big one with the whole national experience and everything that goes with it.”
The Smith and Ferguson rinks will now represent P.E.I. at the 2020 New Holland Canadian junior championships in Langley, B.C., from Jan. 18 to 26.
Ferguson posted a 5-1 record, won two of the three sections and won the title in the first championship-round game.
“We were pretty confident going into it and confident in our preparation,” Ferguson told the Journal Pioneer in an interview. “It felt good to be able to go out and execute for the most part.
“I thought we played well and the tournament went pretty well for us.”
This year marked the 21-year-old Smith’s sixth provincial junior championship and his fifth as skip on P.E.I. His other title came in New Brunswick in 2018 as the third stone for Liam Marin.
“We had a lot of practices leading up to the event and I played in the rec. league in Crapaud for the winter and I was nice and comfortable with the ice,” said Smith, who is from Hunter River. “We just went out and did what we had to do, made our shots and made the other team make the tough ones.”
Smith’s teammates are third stone Ryan Abraham, second stone Jake Flemming and lead Ryan Lowery. Smith’s father, Kevin Smith, handles the coaching duties. They curl out of the Montague Curling Rink.
“Everybody gets along well and the team chemistry is really good,” said Tyler Smith. “I played with two out of the three guys last year and our fourth player (Flemming) this year moved over here from Halifax and he played with Ryan Abraham for the last three or four years and we knew him, so we all knew each other before we even started (as a team).”
It has been a busy year for the Smith rink and the provincials marked its seventh event of the season.
It marked back-to-back junior titles for Ferguson, who is curling with a new team this season. The Pat Quilty-coached rink also includes third stone Sydney Howatt, second stone Kristie Rogers and lead Rachel O’Connor.
"We stuck together as a team, which at the end of the day is what makes us so successful,” said the 17-year-old Ferguson, the youngest member of the rink. “A couple of our games we had a rough going, but we stuck together and the ice held up great in Crapaud.”
Like the Smith rink, Team Ferguson also had a schedule getting ready for the provincials.
“This season, we’ve played in a few different competitive junior spiels around the Maritimes,” said Ferguson, a Grade 12 student at Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School from Spring Valley. “We won the Oak Island junior women’s cashspiel in Chester, N.S., (in early November), so that was a highlight for us.
“We also played in a women’s spiel in Windsor, N.S., so that was a good experience for us.”
Going forward, Ferguson said her team, which is based out of the Cornwall Curling Club, will stick to its normal practise schedule to prepare for nationals.
“We will possibly set up a few practice games to keep playing and not just be practising,” added Ferguson.
- Click here for story on Lauren Ferguson rink winning provincial junior women's curling championship:
- Click here for story on Tyler Smith rink winning provincial junior men's curling championship: