The Kelvin Harper rink ended a 14-year drought for J.L. Crowe Secondary at the B.C. boys’ high school curling championship on Saturday.
The rink, which includes Justin Umpherville, Harlen Young and Donovan Mudie, captured a silver medal at the provincial championship in Richmond.
The team went 5-2 in round robin play but had to play an extra game against Salmon Arm Secondary in a second-place tie-breaker Saturday afternoon.
After stealing a point in the second end, Crowe was tied 4-4 with Salmon Arm heading into the final end. The challenge was stealing another point against Salmon Arm, which held the hammer for the eighth and final end.
“I knew if we could get our rocks in place I had a pretty good feeling we could steal,” said Harper.
Salmon Arm skip Travis Siemens had to make a perfect hit and stick for the win. His shot made the hit but rolled just out of range giving Crowe the steal of one and silver medals.
“It just rolled far enough and I stood there wondering if it was all over,” recalled Harper. “I was frozen for a second.”
But his eyesight was correct and correct collected its first boys’ curling medal since 1997 when the foursome of Darren and Nathan Brown, Trevor Fennell, Tim Ashman and Darcy McQuiggan finished second that year.
Harper said competing in the B.C. juvenile provincials only a couple of weeks before helped prepare the team for Richmond.
“It really helped us calm down and not be worried about everything,” he admitted.
Adding to that confidence was a three-game sweep of their opening day matches – all by lopsided scores.
“We weren’t expecting that at all,” said Harper. “We just went out and played and just started winning.
“Even though the first games weren’t close, we still had to work and couldn’t slack off.”
The team’s only losses came to eventual champion South Peace Secondary from Dawson Creek and to Salmon Arm in their first meeting.
Harper is hoping this is just the start for his foursome. He, Umpherville and Mudie are in Grade 10 and Young is in Grade 9.
In the girls’ draw zone rep Prince Charles Secondary of Creston was seventh overall behind champion South Kamloops.
Crowe has had success in the girls’ division. In 2004, Brittany Palmer, Leanne Palmer, Carly Frew and Courtney Schmidt won the gold medal. After silver in 2005, Brittany Palmer, Sam Almquist, Justine Harper and Katie Hill won gold in 2006.