The Vankleek Collegiate Institute (VCI) mixed rink rocked its way into the finals match of the Eastern Ontario Secondary School Athletics Association (EOSSAA) curling championships in Kingston last week. The VCI mixed rink of skip Rafael MacKinnon, lead Addison Eva, second Tristan Das Eiras, and third Madison Parisien went the full seven ends against Cornwall’s École L’Héritage rink in the finals with Cornwall taking the gold with a 9-3 score.
“They (Cornwall) had a little bit more experience on their side, which is always a factor,” said VCI Coach Dan Tremblay.
VCI played against Ernestown first in their roundrobin event the first day of the EOSSAA championships March 6. The four Vankleek Hill curlers edged out their opposition 6-5, then went on for their first encounter of the bonspiel agains L’Héritage.
The Cornwall school won that round 10-6. Still in play, VCI went on to the semi-final round of the competition and beat Kingston Secondary 8-6. That qualified the four VCI curlers for their finals rematch against L’Héritage.
“I see a bright future for these four, with a little more experience,” said Tremblay, adding that the four have all curled together for the past three years. “They all came up through the Vankleek Hill Curling Club.”
The VCI girls rink of skip Sydney Mode, Heidi Zihlmann, Cooper Smith, and Alexa MacLaren did not do as well during EOSSAA. They lost both of their round-robin matches against Kingston’s Frontenac 7-2 and St. Joseph of Cornwall 8-1 after seven ends. The Cornwall school went on to win the girls division at EOSSAA.
Coach Tremblay noted that the members of VCI’s girls rink had not played together for several years and decided this season to put together a rink “for fun” to represent the school in girls curling at the regional level. They won the Prescott-Russell title last month, which earned them their berth at EOSSAA.
“They all have experience in curling and I expect they will return next year,” said Tremblay. “I am really proud of how they (mixed and girls) represented the school.”