A Curl Sudbury sweep of NOCA U21 championships
by Randy Pascal
This might well have been the outcome that most folks clearly expected, but there was still a little something special for Curl Sudbury skip Tanner
Horgan as he laid claim to the Northern Ontario Curling Association banner for a record sixth consecutive time.
Both Horgan and lead Maxime Blais will graduate from the Junior/U21 ranks this year, leaving vice Jacob Horgan and second Max Cull
to carry on the tradition a year from now.
The Horgan rink completed their methodical run through the six team competition with a 9-1 win over Nick Lemieux (Community First - Sault Ste
Marie) Sunday morning at the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club.
Horgan was leading 3-1 after six ends of play when he picked up a deuce, with the hammer in the seventh, and then sealed the deal with a four-point steal
the very next end, earning he and his team a trip to Prince Albert (Saskatchewan), site of the 2019 New Holland Men's and Women's Canadian Junior
Curling Championship from January 19th to the 27th.
In posting a round robin record of 5-0, the Horgan quartet defeated Matthew Duizer of the McIntyre in Timmins (15-0), Myles Harding from
Fort William CC (6-3), Josh Landry of Horne Granite in New Liskeard (12-3), Chris Silver of Fort William (9-2) and Lemieux, for the first
Team Horgan will enjoy some very familiar company in western Canada after clubmate Kira Brunton and her crew of Megan Smith, Sara Guy and
Kate Sherry downed the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club team of Bella Croisier, Jamie Smith, Lauren Rajala and Piper Croisier 6-2
in the women's final.
Though there were only three entries on the ladies side of the draw, things proved even more interesting than the men, with Brunton having to make it
three straight victories over a highly competitive Croisier rink in order to earn her first trip to junior nationals since 2016, when she served as a vice
to Megan Smith.
Brunton looked impressive in besting Croisier 7-3 on Friday, but needed an extra end steal to secure first place in pool play with an 8-7 win Saturday
evening against the same opponent.
Throw in the fact that while Team Croisier managed to sweep past the Alyssa Denyer Curl Sudbury entry (Jessica Leonard, Alyssas McVittie, Abby
Deschene) by scores of 10-3 and 10-2, Brunton settled for a split with her clubmates, taking the opener against Denyer 8-1, but dropping the rematch of
the double round robin playdown, 6-4.
For Megan Smith, this marks her third visit to Junior Nationals, after also playing vice for Krysta Burns in 2017, with both Sara Guy (four times
- 2014/2015/2017/2019) and Kate Sherry (2016/2019) also able to draw on previous experience at the event.
In fact, only Max Cull will be making this journey for the first time, as Jacob Horgan and Maxime Blais can match their skip in returning for an
impressive sixth stint as NOCA champs.
This also makes it 12 of the past 14 years where the Northern Ontario women's entry at Junior Nationals will hail from Sudbury, a stretch that has seen
the likes of Jennifer Horgan, Tracy Horgan, Vanessa Maloney, Kendra Lilly, as well as Burns, Smith and Brunton, all serve as final rock throwers for
the green and gold.