By SEAN ROONEY on March 15, 2019.
Looking at the draw for the Optimist Under-18 Provincial Championships you might have thought you were seeing double.
Nope. There really are two teams named Molberg at the Medicine Hat Curling Club this weekend: Nathan skipping on the boys side and younger sister Rebecca on the girls.
Imagine the luck for the family to have them playing on neighbouring sheets in Thursday’s opening draw.
“It actually is easier because I can’t completely focus on either game,” said mom Candace during a break in the action. “I’m not quite as into (any one game).”
Nathan, along with third Benjamin Helston, second Nicholas Warkman and lead Morgan Bilassy, won his opener 7-4 over Team Hill then advanced to the A final with a 5-4 win over Team Power in the evening.
Rebecca, with third Tori Hartwell, second Kristina Allen and lead Ashleigh McKinnon, lost to Team Bakos 5-3 and Team Jacques 6-5 and will start Saturday in the last-chance C draw semis.
It wasn’t the first time they were in a high-pressure bonspiel in such close proximity. The St. Albert products both won their spots to provincials not at a district qualifier, but the Crestwood Bonspiel in Edmonton in December.
The siblings might be pulling for each other to win, but try hard not to worry about how things are going nearby.
“You’ve definitely got to stay focused,” said Nathan, whose team scored three in the second end and stole another two for a low-stress start to the weekend. “You have to be in your game and focus in. But when there’s down times, you take a look over and see how they’re doing.
“But no talking though. After the game we can talk.”
Rebecca, playing with a time clock for the first time in her life, admitted she barely noticed when Nathan’s team was shaking hands. She was lining up a takeout shot to score three and win, which unfortunately crashed on a guard.
There was a measurement to see if Bakos’ stone was indeed first shot, but Rebecca wasn’t surprised when it wound up as a steal instead of an extra end.
“I think the time clocks actually helped because I knew I had to be on it,” she said. “I didn’t pay attention to his sheet.”
They got into the sport about seven years ago thanks to Candace’s cousin Paul Turner, who runs the junior program in St. Albert. Fittingly, Turner is coaching the Oake boys team which went 1-1 Thursday.
Though their parents don’t really curl, the kids caught on quick and seem to have a bright future ahead of them. This is Nathan’s third time at the under-18 event and Rebecca’s first.
Zeidell wins one, loses one
As for the hometown entry, Connor Zeidell’s foursome finally got things going but not a second too soon.
After missing several big shots in a 4-3 loss to Team Sonnenberg out of Sexsmith and Grande Prairie, the Hat-based side stole three points in the final two ends in a come-from-behind win against Lethbridge’s Team Kroker.
Zeidell, with third Cole Lewis, second Bryson Helmle and lead Kolby MacDonald, wasn’t too happy after missing a hit for four in the opening game’s sixth end, but knows his side has what it takes to get to Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. championship draw.
“We played good overall, we’ve just got to put the pieces together a little more, make more shots,” he said.
Zeidell plays Power in a B event semifinal at 10 a.m. In both boys and girls events, the A and B winners square off in a championship semifinal Saturday, with the loser playing the winner of two C event finalists in the other semifinal.
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