The Kwalikum Secondary School boys curling team won the Vancouver Island playdowns at Qualicum & District Curling Club Jan. 20-21 and earned a berth in the March 1-3 provincial championships at Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster. Coach Carol Barson, centre, is joined by skip Jackson Nowak, third Isacc Brightland, second Cam Hunter and lead Eli Bodnaruk. — Photo submitted by Ann Fyfe

Ballenas girls, Kwalikum boys head for curling provincials

Local teams sweep Island zone playdowns in Qualicum Beach

The Ballenas Secondary School girls curling team continued its long-running success while the Kwalikum Secondary School boys became the newest provincial qualifier during the Vancouver Island regional high school curling playdowns held Jan. 20-21 at Qualicum & District Curling Club.

The Ballenas girls team, skipped by fourth-year veteran Amanda Litton, swept undefeated to its fifth straight Island title. Litton will be joined by third, Michaela Morrill; second, Libby Elliott; and lead, Malea Louie on a squad coached by Rocky Morrill.

Also qualifying for the March 1-3 High School Provincial Championships at Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster are the Kwalikum Boys, who outlasted four other teams, including defending champion Carihi Secondary of Campbell River, in the Island playdowns.

The KSS Team of skip Jackson Nowak, third Isacc Brightland, second Cam Hunter and lead Eli Bodnaruk finished the event with three wins and one loss. They were the youngest team in the division, and impressed everyone with their game call, shot making and team spirit, said Ann Fyfe of Ballenas.

“Their coach, Carol Barson, is so proud of this team and can’t wait to share their energy and enthusiasm at the provincials,” said Fyfe.

This will be Litton’s fourth trip to the High School Curling Provincials, her first as skip after competing as the third for last year’s provincial qualifiers.

She has also curled in the Tuesday night ladies’ league in Parksville, where she and her teammates have been mentored by junior curling instructor Cheryl Noble, former world champion and Olympic medalist. Earlier this year, Litton competed in the highly competitive U21 playdowns, teaming up with Jada Zimmerman and Taya Vega, former high school teammates.

Litton is not the only one with competitive experience on the veteran Ballenas girls team. This will be Morrill’s second trip to the high school provincials, and she placed third in the 2017 U18 provincials along with Elliott. Elliott has again qualified for the 2018 U18 provincials with Port Alberni-based skip Rebecca Douglas.

Louie will be the only first-time provincial competitor on the team. She is a new curler this year, but she has impressed her coach and teammates with her shot making and competitive spirit, said Fyfe.

— NEWS staff and

Ann Fyfe submission

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