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Alberta captures men’s and women’s titles at 2018 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships

LEDUC, Alta. (U SPORTS) – For the second time in school history, the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas captured both U SPORTS men and women’s curling titles, winning their respective championship finals on Wednesday at the Leduc Recreation Centre.

Both the Bears and Pandas also earned the right to represent Team Canada at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The national title for the Bears is their third in program history, and first since 2015. The Pandas’ title is also their third overall, with all three coming in the last four years.

“It’s surreal. The feeling of what just happened hasn’t even set in.” said Bears skip Karsten Sturmay, whose sister Selena plays second on the Pandas. “I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my sister’s team. All of us, we’ve done a great job here.”

Sturmay’s Bears defeated the Winnipeg Wesmen 6-4, while the Pandas beat the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack 6-3. The UNB Varsity Reds captured the men’s bronze medal, while the Brock Badgers claimed the women’s.

“It’s been fantastic to be the host school, literally playing 30 feet from where I threw my first curling rocks,” continued Sturmay, who was part of back-to-back silver medal-winning teams. “That’s so special. We’ve had so many friends and family to come out and watch us and the level of support Leduc has shown, it has been unbelievable.”

The Golden Bears jumped out to an early 4-2 lead over the Wesmen, before both teams exchanged singles in the later stages of the game. Alberta scored a single in the 10th to seal the national championship.

Meanwhile, the Pandas fell behind 2-0 early to TRU, before scoring in three consecutive ends to take a 4-2 lead after six. After allowing one in the seventh, Alberta added another two in the ninth, before running the WolfPack out of rocks in the 10th.

University of Alberta Pandas, Kristen Streifel, Danielle Schmiemann, Selena Sturmay, Jesse Iles, Paige Papley and coach Garry Coderre (Infinite Eye Photography/Curling Canada photo)

“It was so cool to have the boys playing two sheets over from us and we were kind of feeding off each other’s energy from the crow,.” said an excited Kristen Streifel, skip of the Pandas. “It was a tough week. We really had to grind it out, but we continued to improve every game. I’m just so proud of our programs. ”

This is the second consecutive time the Pandas have represented Canada at the Winter Universiade, after Kelsey Rocque’s 2016 U SPORTS winning squad captured gold in Almaty, Kazakhstan last winter.

“It’s such an amazing feeling for it to come true. To be able to wear that Maple Leaf and represent Canada on a world level is so special,” said Selena Sturmay, who captures a national title in her rookie season. “Karsten and I had a chance to curl on a national level together and we’ve both been Team Alberta at the junior level, but to now wear the Maple Leaf together is even better.”

University of Alberta Bears: coach Rob Krepps, Karsten Sturmay, Tristan Steinke, Jason Ginter, Chris Kennedy, Glenn Venance (Infinite Eye Photography/Curling Canada photo)

INDIVIDUAL HONOURS

MEN

First Team All-Canadians

Skip: Karsten Sturmay, Alberta
Third: *Kyle Doering, Winnipeg and Tristan Steinke, Alberta
Second: Jason Ginter, Alberta
Lead: Rob Gordon, Winnipeg

* Tie

Second Team All-Canadians

Skip: *John Willsey, Waterloo and J.T. Ryan, Winnipeg
Third: none
Second: Michael Brophy, Dalhousie
Lead: Benjamin Hughes, Brock

* Tie

Coach of the Year: Lindsey MacKnight, UNB Varsity Reds
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Kyle Doering, Winnipeg Wesmen

WOMEN

First Team All-Canadians

Skip: Terri Weeks, Brock
Third: Danielle Schmiemann, Alberta
Second: Kelly Middaugh, Wilfrid Laurier
Lead: Samantha Fisher, Thompson Rivers

Second Team All-Canadians

Skip: Corynn Brown, Thompson Rivers
Third: Erin Pincott, Thompson Rivers
Second: Shelby Brandt, Regina
Lead: Jesse Iles, Alberta

Coach of the Year: Jim Nix, Mount Allison Mounties
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Lauren Barron, Memorial Sea-Hawks