It was a double silver weekend for the Lloydmin - ster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) Barons, as their boys’ and mixed curling teams finished second overall at the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association Curling Provincials.
The provincial tournament, featuring the top eight schools from across Alberta in boys’, girls’ and mixed curling, was hosted by the public high school, which granted each of their teams an automatic bid into the tournament.
For the boys’ team, that meant they would get a chance to play the underdog, as the boy Barons did not qualify for districts or zones, and were only at the provincial tournament because of the automatic bid. However, for Kyle Daniel’s rink, it showed that it was all about timing your best performance of the season, which for the Barons, was on home ice with a provincial title on the line.
“This weekend we came in as underdogs and we are emerging with silver medals,” said Daniel. “I’m really satisfied with how our team did. We have been practising so hard this season and for all those practices and nights just throwing rocks back and forth to earn us that medal, and for us to come this far, means a lot. It means all our hard work paid off.”
The boys’ team defeated Notre Dame High School (Red Deer), 7-4, and Winston Churchill High School (Lethbridge), 13-0, in the Pool B play, losing only to Georges P. Vanier High School (Donnelly) in the round robin portion.
After a victory over Roland Michener High School (Slave Lake) in the semifinals, the Barons got another shot at Georges P. Vanier in the finals, however, they came up a little short, losing 7-4 in the gold medal game, settling for second place.
But despite the loss in the finals, Daniel said it was great to be on home ice in front of the hometown crowd and earn a silver medal for the Barons, the first of two the high school would earn at the curling provincials. It got the school out to watch over the weekend of competition, and made some students and teachers into curling fans overnight.
“It got a lot of kids out from our school that hadn’t really watched curling or know what it is,” said Daniel. “Now that they can come out and see it, they can see it is a really intense sport and they might want to give it a try.”
On the mixed side, skip Jared Latos had to settle for another silver medal at provincials, to go with the silver he earned last year, as the mixed team lost a tough gold medal game to Leduc Comprehensive High School, 10-4.
Two ends spelled disaster for the Barons, who were down 8-2 after four ends, giving up four in both the second and fourth ends.
The Barons mixed team went 2-1 in Pool B play, earning victories over Lacombe Composite High School (Lacombe) and Fairview High School (Fairview), while losing only to Willow Creek Composite (Claresholm). They defeated RF Staples (Westlock) in the semifinals to place them in the gold medal game.
“I felt like we didn’t play too bad,” said Latos after earning the silver medal. “They played well, but we just had some costly misses at the wrong time. Overall, we had a great weekend, we won some close games. I was pretty impressed with how my team handled everything. I feel like we accomplished a goal by making the playoffs and earning a medal is great.”
The Baron girls’ team, unfortunately, didn’t make the playoffs, going 1-2 in Pool B play, earning a 9-0 victory over Georges P. Vanier school.
For Lloydminster Comprehensive, the curling provincials were a huge success, bringing fans out to the games, as well as exposing their teams to the experience of provincial level curling. For head coach Scott Manners, it will go a long way to helping the teams in the future, as the younger grades of curling on the boys’ and girls’ teams experienced high level curling, some of them, for the first time.
“It’s been great to see the kids come out here and put their whole heart into it,” said Manners. “We have a fantastic LCHS curling program. It was great for them to play on home ice, it was a big advantage for them. It is not easy to qualify in these things and they should feel very proud for their accomplishments this weekend.”