Two of the Cowichan Valley's brightest young talents played in the Canada Western University Curling Championships Jan. 19-21 in Edmonton.
This was the second time Emma Woyke, a Brandon University Bobcats sophomore, had participated in the event. Its first appearance was last year when the event was held in Victoria.
“The experience is great,” Woike said. “I learn a lot every time I compete in an event like this.”
It was the first time in the Can West Playdowns tournament for Carly Hardy, a freshman at the University of Calgary Dinos.
She didn't have to wait long to see her old friend.
Duncan Curling Club Novice/Junior teammates went head-to-head in the second draw, Friday night at 7 p.m
“It was really fun to play against Emma and see her,” Hardy said when the dust settled. “It's always nice to see someone I grew up curling.”
“I love the people I have met through this sport, and being able to compete against familiar faces is always comforting,” she said.
In their battle, Hardy's rink had the upper hand, defeating Woike's rink 9-3.
Hardee Rink kicked off their event with an 8-6 win over Lethbridge earlier Friday before coming out on top in their game against Waukeki later that night.
It was nice to see a familiar face on the ice; “I haven't played Emma in a couple of years,” Hardy noted, adding that once the event starts, she focuses on her own game and not who her opponents are.
On Saturday morning, the Hardy Dinos lost 11-3 to Regina but rebounded later that day with a 10-9 win over defending champion Victoria.
“That first win over UVic was very important and it was a match that needed to be won,” Hardy noted. “We were very happy with that, so our team felt a lot of momentum.”
On Sunday morning, the Dinos played Alberta and lost 10-7 to this year's champions.
“They were the strongest team there, we had played them before and knew winning was possible but they are really good,” Hardy admitted. “We played a great game against them and we are the only team to get them to the end, so we were proud of that.”
With the win over Calgary in Draw 5, Alberta went undefeated to capture the conference pennant, its third in the past five years (2019, 2020).
“After that game, I felt like we won because we played so well,” Hardy explained.
The loss means Calgary, Victoria and Regina are all tied for second place. Regina was eliminated for having the highest cumulative distance to the final stone so Dinos and Vikes met in a tiebreaker to determine who would move on to nationals.
“We had a lot of momentum in the tiebreaker against UVic and we just came out a little tough,” Hardy admitted. Her rink eventually finished third overall with a 3-2 record.
“We were really proud of the way we played, but it's definitely unfortunate that it was so close,” she said. “But we now have the confidence that this U20 provincial event in March has given us to go to the U20 nationals if we place in the top two.”
Meanwhile, Woike started the tournament against a powerhouse Alberta Pandas team on Friday afternoon, losing 15-3. After facing Hardy Arena on Friday night, Woike and the Bobcats met the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday morning, losing 9-7, and the Regina Cougars that afternoon, losing 10-3. On Sunday, Woike's team met the Victoria Vikes and lost 10-9, finishing sixth overall in the event.