Dailene Sivertson left Victoria three years ago to get an education — both on the ice and in the classroom. Now, armed with some high-calibre curling experience and a business degree, the three-time B.C. junior women’s champion is coming home.
This fall, Sivertson will take over skipping the Kesa Van Osch provincial championship team, featuring third Stephanie Baier, second Jessie Sanderson, and lead Carley Sandwith. Van Osch has decided to curl with her sister and 2014 junior champ Kalia Van Osch.
“It all just fit. It’s so weird,” said Sivertson, who’ll finish her degree at the University of Regina in August. “I had been thinking of coming back to Victoria, and coming back to skipping.”
Soon after the first-year Van Osch team returned from just missing the playoffs at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal, they knew a change was in the offing. Van Osch thought long and hard about it, but really felt she needed to curl with her sister.
“It’s not just because she’s my sister, but she’s also a fabulous teammate,” said the Nanaimo skip, who won the provincial junior championship with Kalia and younger sister Marika in 2013. “For whatever reason, when I’m on the ice and Kalia is third, I feel amazingly confident.
“For me to improve as a curler, I need that.”
Van Osch — now on the hunt for an “amazing” front end — had hoped to keep her provincial winners together, but Baier said the other three weren’t satisfied with the idea of a five-person team. They all wanted to compete together on a regular basis.
“It put us in the position of looking for another player,” Baier said. “We wanted someone with skipping experience who was young and had the same objectives and practice ideals. The key is to stay together, learn together, and grow as a team.”
For Sivertson, the new combo, which will curl out of the Victoria Curling Club, isn’t all really all that new. The 23-year-old won the province with Baier in 2007, and did it again with Sanderson in 2010.
“They know me. It puts us one step ahead,” said Sivertson, who returns with all kinds of elite experience.
She spent her first year away playing third for former world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna, and the last two as lead and second for Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland. Along the way she went to the Scotties, with Scott, and played extensively on the World Tour with Holland, leading up to the team qualifying for the Olympic pre-trials.
“I kind of fast-tracked it. Now I can come back and share their knowledge of the game and what it takes to play against Canada’s top teams.”
With three returning players next season, the team receives an automatic bye into the provincial Scotties. Rather than playdowns, they’ll turn their focus to bonspiels, under the coaching eye of Cindy Tucker, who also coached Sivertson in juniors.
“I’m very much looking forward to being a skip again,” Sivertson said. “Coming back, it’s going to be awesome.”
• The curling laurels have been piling up for Island teams this season, and it’s not over yet.
Beginning Saturday, Wes Craig, of the Victoria Curling Club, and Parksville’s Penny Shantz will be vying for national crowns at the Canadian Senior Curling Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Craig is backed by Blair Cusack, Tony Anslow, and Kevin Britt, while Shantz’s team includes Sandra Jenkins, Debbie Pulak and Kate Horne.
Craig, with Sarah Wark, Miles Craig, and Michelle Allen, will also be competing in next fall’s Canadian Mixed Championship, after winning the provincial title last weekend, and bringing the overall B.C. gold medal count this year to six.
And B.C. junior men’s champ Cameron de Jong of Victoria is in Ottawa today for the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials. He and Yukon partner Andrea Sinclair won the doubles event at the Canadian juniors.