The combined Summerland-Penticton team of junior curlers consisting of (from left to right): coach Brian Lyall (Kelowna), Zack Kuechle (second), Ryan Trip (third), Matthew Lowery (skip) and Jacob Martin (lead) earned the right at the qualfier bonspiel last weekend to represent Zone 2 at the upcoming B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops, Feb. 22 to 25. Submitted photo

South Okanagan curling team sweeps into BC Games

Team consisting of Summerland and Penticton players qualifies for the BC Games

It was their first bonspiel playing together as a team, but it might have been the most important in their young curling careers so far.

Penticton players Ryan Trip (third) and Zack Kuechle (second) and Summerland’s Matthew Lowery (skip) and Jacob Martin (lead) joined forces to earn the right to represent the zone at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops, Feb. 22 to 25.

“I was doubtful, but hopeful going in,” said Kuechle, a Grade 9 student at Penticton Secondary School. “We are younger than some of the teams that were there and we lost our first game because we missed quite a few draws, takeouts and just missing shots in general. We were quite tired and were just freaking out because we were at the qualifier.”

The Zone 2 qualifier in Kelowna last weekend was the first time this four-some had played together at an event.

“I was really happy with the way we performed together as a team. Most of the teams we were facing have been together for a year, if not more. I’ve known all the people on my team for quite awhile because we see each other at different bonspiels but it is always against each other,” said Kuechle. “We have only been a team for about a month.”

Losing to Kamloops 5-3 in their first game, the Lowery team shook it off and took the advice of their coach Brian Lyall (Kelowna) to relax, watch some of the other teams and clear their minds before the afternoon game.

Kuechle said they roared back into their next game beating a Kelowna team by seven points, 11-4. On the following day of competition they found themselves on the winning side again, defeating a team from the north Okanagan 10-3. This pushed them in the finals against a team from Oliver (skip Tyler Atunes, third Connor Mackey, second Owen Berokoff and lead Brandon Paetkau) where they earned their third win by a score of 9-4.

“It was a close game at the beginning, but then towards the end we scored a lot of points and they conceded,” said Kuechle.

Now in his six year of curling, along with his friend Trip who started at the same time, Kuechle said he is ready for all the excitement and fun participating in a big event like the B.C. Games will bring. Before that comes along, Kuechle has a few other duties in front of him.

“I am really excited for the Scotties. I am the ambassador for a team so I get to be with them all the time behind the scenes and when they are out playing. Basically, I will be morale support,” said Kuechle, who hopes to be paired up with Team B.C.

According to the B.C. Games records (which only date back to 2002), it is the first time in at least eight Winter Games (they are held every two years) that a boys curling team with players from the South Okanagan have qualified.

This is the first year that the B.C. Winter Games curling event will be for under-16 curlers. It was previously a under-17 event. Two teams were qualified in Zone 2 for the B.C. Winter Games. The Yamada rink, from Kamloops that defeated the Lowery team in their first game at the qualifier, will also represent the area. That team consists of skip Bryan Yamada, third Daniel Griffiths, second Nolan Bottineau, lead Alexander Landygo and coach Raymond Olsen. Two teams from Kamloops qualified on the girls side.

The Zone 2 teams will compete against six other zones in curling and be among the 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials from all over British Columbia in the 19 sports that make up the Games.

Just Posted

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Vees add another notch to the win column

The team beat the Surrey Eagles 4-1 in the Bauer BCHL Showcase on Sept. 20

50-site RV park proposed for Okanagan Falls

An applicant has requested the property area be rezoned to Commerical Tourist instead of Industrial

City council passes tax exemptions without discussion

Permissive tax exemptions approved for 2019

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read