Douglas delivers upset gold at curling nationals

For a second straight year, Douglas College curled its way to a national title.

This time, it was the women’s turn.

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The Douglas College Royals entered the tourney with the most interesting story and exited it with the best story, beating the MacEwan Griffins 7-5 for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s women’s curling title in Fredricton, NB.

With a team virtually cobbled together over a few months, with a lead whose prowess was on the soccer pitch and not the curling rink – at least until recently – Douglas shocked many en route to the final.

In the showdown against Edmonton’s MacEwan rink, the Royals took a 3-1 lead by scoring two in the top of the third. The Griffins garnered two of their own, with one each in the fifth and sixth ends, to lock it up at 3-3.

But Kayla MacMillan’s team bucked up and stole one in the seventh and three more in the eighth for a commanding lead. Even though the MacEwan team scrambled to make it 7-5, they couldn’t bridge the gap as Douglas kept a clean slate in the 10th to earn the national crown.

It all came after the squad began the tourney 0-2 in the round robin, but peeling off three straight wins to achieve a playoff berth.

Despite winning the tournament, the Royals didn’t place anyone on the first all-star team. Third Patty Wallingham was named to the second all-star squad.

Douglas’ MacMillan rink knocked off Fanshawe in the semifinals 11-2, scoring a powerful three spot in the second end to grab an early 4-0 advantage. They began their win streak against the Humber Hawks (6-4), after ending the round-robin portion on the wrong side of an 8-4 score with Northern Alberta Institute.

The foursome consists of skip Kayla MacMillan, lead Sam Kell, second Sarah Loken and Wallingham.

Having competed in four previous CCAA national championships, all on the soccer pitch, Kell stepped in as a newcomer to the sport and joined forces with the more experienced MacMillan and Loken, teammates on B.C.’s junior women’s national silver medal team, and Wallingham, a three-time Scotties participant.

 A year ago, the school’s lone curling team was on the men’s side, and marched all the way to a CCAA title.

The men’s rink, skipped by Royal City curler Daniel Wenzek, beat the Fanshawe Falcons 7-3.

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