Kalia Van Osch knows the pressure will be squarely on her team’s shoulders, but she and her Nanaimo rink are looking forward to it.
The 19-year-old skip, who played third last season for older sister Kesa on their way to a B.C. junior women’s curling crown, has a new role this year.
Having replaced graduated Kesa at skip, Kalia, third Carley Sandwith (who hails from the Victoria Curling Centre), sister Marika Van Osch at second and lead Ashley Sanderson are clearly the favourites when the 2013 Tim Hortons B.C. Junior Women’s competition starts today at the Chilliwack Curling Club.
Marika was also a member of last year’s provincial-champion rink, playing second.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it. I think the girls are ready and we’re ready to go as a team,” said Kalia. “We have the experience from provincials and from nationals so the pressure won’t be an issue for us.
“I think for my sister and I, we’re going in there, a little bit, to defend our title. In that regards, I think we are one of the favourites. I’m good with that role, though. I’ve been expecting it.”
And this team is more than capable of getting to a second straight M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior championship, slated for Feb. 2-10 in Fort McMurray, Alta.
“Our goal is to go back and get to wear that B.C. jacket as a team,” Kalia said. “That’s what we’ve been working for all season.”
Katherine Silversides of the Juan de Fuca Curling Club will also be competing at provincials with third Dallyce Gillespie, second Brooke Capron and lead Sydney Brilz. Victoria Curling Centre members Merit Thorson (third) and Nicole Block (alternate) are part of Stephanie Prinse’s rink from the host Chilliwack club.
On the junior men’s side, Cameron de Jong has an excellent chance to represent the province with his Victoria Curling Centre rink of third Brook Calibaba, second Connar Croteau, lead Thomas Thierbach and alternate Ryan Cassidy, who rotates in and out of the lineup.
“We’re feeling pretty good going into this,” said de Jong, 19, who is also competing in his third straight provincial event. “The experience helps because I’ve been in these games before.
“I know how long the week can be,” added de Jong, who finished seventh two years ago and fourth last season. “If we could somehow battle our way straight into the final, that would help. Still, if you make the playoffs or a tiebreaker, it’s one game at a time.”
And, like the Van Osch rink, de Jong knows what to expect.
“I don’t feel pressure going into it and I think I deal well with pressure pretty well,” said the skip. “That’s why I feel pretty good going into this.”
Fellow VCC member Duncan Silversides (with third Benton Boychuk-Chorney, second Jacob Zorn, lead Timothy Henderson and alternate Even Scott-Moncrieff) will also be in the eight-team field which will go through a round-robin.
Other VCC ties in junior men’s play include Paul Henderson’s rink, with twins Calvin and Byron Heels — at third and lead respectively — from Esquimalt Curling Club, and second Erik Leisinger.
Second Sanjay Bowry, third Corey Chester and coach Todd Troyer, all of the VCC, are with Tyler Klymchuk’s team, which represents both the Langley CC and Victoria and is also a favourite along with de Jong.
The women’s final is slated for Sunday at 3 p.m., with the men’s going at 7 p.m.
© Copyright 2013