Manitoba won gold at the New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s Curling Championship in Langley Sunday morning, defeating Alberta 10-3.
MacKenzie Zacharias and her Altona Curling Club rink of third Karlee Burgess, second Emily Zacharias, lead Lauren Lenentine, and coach Sheldon Zacharias haven’t lost a game in over a month after dominating the Manitoba Junior provincial play-downs with a 9-0 record.
For Manitoba, it was the first Canadian junior women’s title since Kaitlyn Lawes won consecutive championships in 2008 and 2009.
It was a disappointment for returning champion Abby Marks, the 20-year-old skip for Team Alberta, who was hoping for back-to-back gold medal wins.
— Curling Canada (@CurlingCanada) January 26, 2020
It was a tight game through seven ends as the Alberta team, featuring two members of the 2019 Canadian champs skipped by Selena Sturmay (Marks and second Paige Papley played third and lead respectively last year), hung tough against a favoured Manitoba team that entered the gold-medal game with 10 straight wins.
But in the eighth, Manitoba delivered the crushing blow — a precise angle takeout to drive an Alberta stone through a hole and score four to put Manitoba into an insurmountable 8-3 lead.
“It hasn’t sunk in completely yet; it’ll probably take a couple days,” marvelled Mackenzie Zacharias, 20. “I still can’t believe that my name is going to be on the back of a Canadian jacket. That’s been my dream forever, and I can’t believe it’s really coming true.”
Burgess became the first player ever to win three women’s gold medals at the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships; she’d won two previously with Nova Scotia (2016, skipped by Mary Fay; 2018, skipped by Kaitlyn Jones), and a 10-3 win Sunday over Alberta’s Abby Marks gave her an unprecedented third.
“This could be one of the best Canadians I’ve won, too,” said Burgess.
“It’s pretty special; I moved halfway across Canada to play with these girls and coming out with a win here is pretty exciting. I can’t believe it actually.”
Burgess left her Nova Scotia home this past summer to move to Manitoba, to pursue her education and be closer to her boyfriend Jacques Gauthier, who will skip Manitoba #2 in the men’s gold-medal game later on Sunday; the two met while playing at the 2017 Canadian Juniors.
The silver-medal Alberta team was rounded out by vice-skip Catherine Clifford, lead Jamie Scott and coach Doug Marks.
Nova Scotian’s Taylour Stevens, backed up by vice-skip Lindsey Burgess (Karlee’s cousin), second Kate Callaghan, lead Cate Fitzgerald and coach Mary Mattatall, will go home with a bronze medal.
This afternoon, in the men’s gold medal game, Newfoundland/Labrador will play the Manitoba #2 team.
The winners of Sunday’s gold-medal games will represent Canada at the 2020 World Junior Curling Championships, beginning Feb. 15 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
More photos can be viewed online.