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BC rink of sisters has high hopes for nationals

By Adam Prudhomme (The Napanee Beaver)…..Curling teams typically take the last name of their skip to use as their competitive moniker, forcing fans to do some research to find out the names of the other three members.

British Columbia’s women’s entry into next month’s Canadian Juniors has eliminated most of the guesswork, however, as three of their members share the Van Osch name. They also share the same bloodline.

Skipped by Nanaimo Curling Centre’s Kesa Van Osch, aged 20, the rink also features her sisters Kalia (18) and Marika (15). Only lead Brooklyn Leitch comes from a different household.

“I started (curling) about 10 years ago,” said the skip. “My brother and I did a little learn-to-curl thing through the parks and recreation here in town. A couple of years later my sister Kalia started and about a year later Marika started.”

The three sisters have been curling together for about five years now, facing the likes of Olympic bronze medalist Kelly Law and the Russian Olympic team. This year will mark the first time they’ll compete at the Canadian Juniors — and not a year too soon. At 20 years old, Kesa will be too old to return next year. “It’s going to be an amazing experience to get to share that with them,” she said.

As for Leitch, though she’s not family she’s no stranger either. “My sisters mostly played her off-and-on for the last three or four years at the juvenile level,” said Kesa.

“Her team split up at the end of last year and she got into contact with me… she has fit perfectly.”

Having two of her teammates under one roof has not only strengthened family ties, but there’s also a practical aspect to it as well. Living together allows the sisters to practice at least once a week, a luxury many provincial teams don’t have.

As much as they are looking forward to competing at the nationals in Napanee, they know their time together is limited due to age restrictions. “The plan is to eventually come back together,” said Kesa. “I have to break off for three, four, five years until they (are old enough) to play as ladies.”

In the meantime the skip isn’t planning to sit around and wait for them to be old enough.

“I’ll eventually get a ladies team together and play at the Scotties, Worlds, possibly the Olympics,” she said. “But you never know what life will throw at you.”

First, the Van Oschs have their sights set on claiming first at the Juniors next month in Napanee. Although they’ll have only two sets of parents cheering for them instead of four, they still plan on having plenty of support. Given that their father hails from Ontario, they’re expecting a large cheering section at the Strathcona Paper Centre.

The Van Osch team will square off against Alberta’s Jocelyn Peterman in one of the first draws of the tournament on Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. The tournament will run through Feb. 12 at both the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee District Curling Club.