Shantz rink finished tenth

Parksville skip Penny Shantz, left, and her rink, Debbie Jones-Walker, Deborah Pulak, Shirley Wong and coach Lindsay Sparkes  ham it up in Abbotsford. - Submitted Photo
Parksville skip Penny Shantz, left, and her rink, Debbie Jones-Walker, Deborah Pulak, Shirley Wong and coach Lindsay Sparkes  ham it up in Abbotsford.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

Okay, so her debut at the Canadian Senior Curling Championships may not have played out exactly as she’d hoped, but competing at a high level and representing her province on the national stage never gets old.

“Never,” confirmed local skip Penny Shantz. Along with her rink; former Olympic teammate Debbie Jones-Walker from Vancouver along with Deborah Pulak, and QB’s Shirley Wong — are back home from the 2012 Canadian Senior Curling Championships played out in March 15-25 in Abbotsford, a little older and a little wiser.

Shantz and company, who won the B.C. Sr. Ladies championships last month, got off to a great start in Abbotsford when they won their opener handily, upsetting the defending champions from New Brunswick. The local rink then lost their next three.

The team bounced back Mon., March 19 in Draw 10 when they scored two in the 10th for a 7-6 win over Northwest Territories, and on the Tuesday they kept their hopes alive when they stole one in the 10th to beat Northern Ontario, 6-5.

That win put the local rink at 3-3, but their run came to an end Wednesday when they lost 12-3 to Manitoba and 9-7 to the Harris rink from Ontario.

“We knew we were on the bubble,” Shantz surmised when The News caught up with her this week.

It was, she confirmed, a long stretch of curling to be sure. The team lost all three of their games on Thursday — 8-5 to Alberta, 8-6 to Ontario and 11-5 to Newfoundland and Labrador, and closed out the Senior Nationals with an 8-6 loss to Quebec.

“We could have easily won that game,” Shantz panned, her competitive side coming through.

Coached by Lindsay Sparks from Courtenay, the team played 11 games over nine days and finished 10th out of 12 teams.

“Bad play,” Shantz chuckled when asked what did them in, adding, “you can tell when you’ve brought your A-game and when it’s not working. We kept hoping it was going turn around but it never quite happened.

“Debbie (Jones-Walker) and I haven’t been there (the B.C.s) for a long time,” she said of her good friend.

The two were on the same team that won a bronze medal at the Calgary Olympics, and both competed for years at a high level in Women’s curling.

Asked what she’ll take away from her first national final as a skip, and the local bank manager thought for a second and said, “I think the whole week. Just being there with all the people that I know from the past, and all the new people that I met ... it’s just a great event for any team to ever experience, and to go to that level, it’s wonderful. It’s a lot of pressure, it’s harder then work, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s well worth it. You learn so much, and you experience so much in that one week; to watch my team grow as the week went on — that’s the highlight, and although we didn’t win, we were getting stronger every day, and you could see it.”

“It’s a long week and the competition’s tough, but overall it was pretty good — it felt awesome to be back there.”

In the end, the King rink from Alberta beat Cunningham from Newfoundland 9-5 to clinch the women’s championship.


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