The Zone 6 girls curling team playing this week in the B.C. Winter Games in Penticton have honed their on-ice chops at the Juan de Fuca Curling Club and elsewhere around the Island.
The combined West Shore-Sooke fivesome is led by skip Cassandra Blenkin, 15, the eldest member of the rink. But this is the Langford resident’s first trip to the B.C. Winter Games.
“This is a really new experience for me.” She added, however, “I’m striving for a medal.”
Three of the five played together last year, including at the regional juvenile playdowns in Mill Bay, a competition that provided a valuable competitive opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to competing against high-level teams,” said one of those players, 13-year-old third Sophie Bissette of View Royal, of the Games. “We’re going to learn a lot.”
She brings knowledge gained from working with the Victoria Curling Club junior academy, as well as playing bonspiels and league play with her Games teammates.
The front end for this rink is where the Sooke contingent comes in, and they’re ready to play important roles.
Second Loganne Bell, 14, a Grade 9 student at Royal Bay and the third returning rink member, said the group has been working a lot on their line – that is, hitting the broom with their shots. She said they’ve shown great improvement as a team in that regard since the beginning of the season.
Kayla Wilson, 14, holds down the lead position, helped by younger sister Sasha, 12. Kayla likes the way the group has gelled, a situation that seems to start at the top.
“She’s a really good team player,” she said of Blenkin. “She always knows what to say when you mess up.”
Sasha, who expects to get into at least one game at lead, will serve a key role along with coach Julie Atcheson, charting statistics, watching how the ice is running and serving almost as an assistant coach.
Atcheson pointed out that success may take a different form for this enthusiastic group.
“Our team is not based on winning, it’s based on having fun and learning something,” she said, adding they take every game end by end. “It breaks it down and it makes it less stressful for everybody out there. They will do fine, I have no qualms about (that).”