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Team Tellier takes their show on the road - again
2024-02-06
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The Idylwylde Golf & Country Club has sent a whole slew of teams to the Canadian U18 Curling Championships over the years.

For a whole variety of reasons, Team Tellier is different - and that's not a bad thing at all.

While many are the local youth rinks who careful scripted their ascension through the bantam ranks and up, the foursome of Kameron Tellier (skip), Kelton Tellier (third), Samantha Digiglio (second) and Karleigh McNaughton (lead) were not even a foursome until roughly six weeks into the current curling season.

"We had to learn quickly about each other, the shots that we can make, how we release the rock - just knowing the technical stuff," noted Digiglio, an 18 year-old grade 12 student at Lasalle Secondary School who has known the Tellier sisters through the Sudbury curling circuit for years.

"I was the last one to come to the team so I just kind of took the open spot (second)," she added with a laugh.

This makeup, typically, is not necessarily the recipe for success at provincials. Safe to say that some eyes were opened in Long Lac in early January as Team Tellier not only advanced through to the NOCA final, but were in it right to the end, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Claire Dubinsky rink.

Thankfully, Northern Ontario was given two spots at nationals this week in Ottawa - and if some were surprised that the newly-formed Sudbury quartet secured the second berth, don't count these curlers among them.

"Independently, we're all good curlers," noted Digiglio. "We came together and learned each other pretty quickly. From the beginning, I kind of had high hopes for us. I thought that this team had a pretty good chance (at provincials)."

And for as much as this team had not even competed together before prior to provincials - a native of New Liskeard, McNaughton had not even met some of her teammates face to face before that event - the key, as it so oftens is, might lie in remembering that there is no "I" in team.

"You have to make sure each curler is willing to do what it takes for the team to succeed," noted Kelton Tellier at a recent send-off party for the nickel city women. "Just making sure that everyone gets comfortable in the position that they are playing."

At the Tellier household, that can make for interesting dynamics as the elder sibling (Kelton) plays third and gives way to little sister (Kameryn) to deliver the final stones.

"Honestly, it works out great," said Kelton. "We have great communication. We obviously live together as sisters - and she makes great calls. Most of the time, we agree. But with us being at vice and skip, we know each other's comfort and our preferred shots."

It all came together in a hurry as Team Tellier emerged from a field of ten teams at northerns.

"We could see our progress as a team throughout the week, how much we had grown, especially for a newly formed team," said Kelton. "We had the same goals, the same aspirations."

As for the week ahead, it's that common dilemna on wanting to enjoy the event without conceding anything on the competitive side of things.

"This is something new, something I've never done before," said Kelton. "I want to make some new friends."

"We're going there to have fun, but to win as many games as we can, too," added Digiglio.

Three games in, Team Tellier is sitting at 1-2, beaten 8-5 by Alberta (Abby Whitbread) in their opener, handling the Yukon rink skipped by Hadley Callan with ease but in tough against Dominique Vivier (Ontario) last night, dropping a 9-2 decision.

The locals are preparing for a busy Wednesday, facing Qu├ębec #2 (Sarah Bergeron - 1-2) in the morning and British Columbia #1 (Erin Fitzgibbon - 2-0) in the evening.

Sudbury Wolves