Double gold for Nova Scotia curlers at under 18 championships
Team Ladouceur and Team Weagle continue province's stellar season
It took Graeme Weagle four attempts but the Chester, N.S., skip not only made it to the Canadian Under 18 Boys and Girls Curling Championships — his team took the title at the event in St. Andrews, N.B., this weekend.
The 18-year-old had competed in four provincial championships leading up to nationals, only to have them slip through his fingers. But not this year.
"It's incredible," said Weagle. "It's a dream come true. I can't even describe to you the feeling after we won. It didn't even feel real. It still doesn't."
Team Weagle handily beat Alberta 10-6 in the final game on Saturday. Soon after, the girl's team, skipped by Isabelle Ladouceur, edged past Saskatchewan 4-3 in the finals.
The double golds at the tournament continues an impressive season for young Nova Scotia curlers. Just last month, Halifax's Kaitlyn Jones and her team became world champions in the under 21 division.
It’s a gold-medal sweep for <a href="https://twitter.com/NSCurl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NSCurl</a> as Team Ladouceur wins girls title at Canadian Under-18 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Curling?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Curling</a> Championships! <a href="https://t.co/mk5dcb0gF2">pic.twitter.com/mk5dcb0gF2</a>—@CurlingCanada
Weagle, who has been with the Chester Curling Club for a decade, says it's inspiring to watch the curlers who came before.
"I watched Mary Fay bring home a national and world title and I think that's really cool," he said. "A small town like Chester being able to win a world championship, I mean, it's a huge world and that's just really cool."
The boy's team, which includes vice-skip Owen Purcell, second Jeffrey Meagher and lead Scott Weagle, had a rocky start in round robin, losing two and winning three. But they pulled things together for the playoffs, winning four straight matches.
Congratulations to Team Weagle and <a href="https://twitter.com/NSCurl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NSCurl</a>! Boys gold-medallists at the 2018 Canadian U18 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Curling?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Curling</a> Championships! <a href="https://t.co/O3zbk3zpOw">pic.twitter.com/O3zbk3zpOw</a>—@CurlingCanada
"This was our 11th straight final that we've been in as far as the tournaments, so they've already been prepared for big games, and I knew that with all the experience that they had prior to this season and the success that they would definitely be ready for this game," said coach Anthony Purcell.
Ladouceur said her team started off aggressive against Saskatchewan in the final and didn't give up.
Ladouceur was joined on the ice by vice-skip Emilie Proulx, second Kate Callaghan, lead Makayla Harnish and alternate Elsa Nauss.
"Having both the Nova Scotia teams make it to that final round and winning gold, it's just something that's really big for our province," said Proulx.
N.S. on a roll
It's no secret why Nova Scotia seems to be on a roll, said Callaghan.
"Honestly, for the last couple of years Nova Scotia has been considered an underdog and then with Mary Fay coming in and winning the juniors, it just really inspired everyone to start practicing more and from there, everyone has just put in a lot of effort," she said.
Weagle said he had such a hard time winning a provincial title because the teams here are so strong.
'An unforgettable week'
This year's team includes new member Owen Purcell from Upper Tantallon.
"To be honest, it still hasn't really sunk in yet but honestly I'm just really proud of the guys for how hard we've worked to be able to say that we are Canadian champions," Purcell said.
It's Weagle's last year in the under 18s. He'll now compete in the next age category and says he's not waiting another four years to make it to nationals.
"Just being here and seeing the atmosphere it really makes me want to come back to a competition like this because it was an incredible experience, just an unforgettable week," he said.