PRINCE ALBERT, SK - Representing Team Alberta, the U21 Pandas Curling team captured the Canadian Junior Curling Championship, defeating Team British Columbia 9-6 in the tournament final on Sunday morning.
The Pandas, lead by skip Selena Sturmay, scored three in the ninth, before running B.C. out of rocks in the 10th to claim the Canadian Junior title. It marks the fourth time in six years the U21 Pandas team has capture the Canadian Junior championship, after Kelsey Rocque won back-to-back in 2014 and 2015, before Kristen Streifel won in 2017.
The Sturmay rink will now represent Team Canada at the 2019 World Junior Curling Championships, which run February 16-23 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
It's also the second Canadian title for Alberta second Kate Goodhelpsen, who was also a member of Streifel's 2017 rink. It's the first Canadian title for lead Paige Papley and third Abby Marks.
Sturmay, along with Papley, are provided with a rare opportunity to represent Canada twice in the same season. They’ll play second and alternate respectively on Kristin Streifel’s Canadian team at the Winter Universiade Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 2-12. Sturmay’s brother and Golden Bears skip, Karsten, will also represent Canada as skip at the competition.
“It’s definitely super exciting. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m not going to be going to school a whole lot,” Sturmay, a 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Alberta, joked. “But that’s okay. I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be the ride of a lifetime for sure.”
Alberta completed a perfect 11-0 tournament record with the final win over UBC, becoming the first team since Rachel Homan's Ontario rink in 2010 to finish undefeated. The Pandas went a perfect 6-0 in round robin play, before going 4-0 in the championship pool to earn the automatic berth to the final as the No. 1 seed.
B.C. knocked off Quebec and Nova Scotia in the tie-breaker and semifinal to set up their meeting with Alberta in the final.
Photo Credit: Curling Canada