LEDUC, ALTA. — It had been everything Selena and Karsten Sturmay dreamed about while growing up in Leduc — playing in a national curling championship to earn the right to wear the maple leaf at an international event.
Within minutes of each other inside the Leduc Recreation Centre on Wednesday afternoon, the hometown curling siblings realized their dreams.
The University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas curling teams captured national titles. Selena is second for the women’s team. Karsten is the skip for the men’s team. After both games finished, the brother and sister raced towards one another and shared a hug that represented a lifetime of practicing for this moment.
“I was peeking over at my brother’s game. I was keeping tabs on it,” Selena said. “I saw him make some really nice shots.”
Karsten was guilty of the same lack of focus.
“I couldn’t help myself from peeking over every once in a while to see how their game was going. I would love to say I was completely focused every minute of my game, but there might have been a bit of a gap in my focus at times.”
Karsten skipped his team to a 6-4 victory over the University of Winnipeg. It was his third consecutive university championship game — the third time was a charm.
“It’s unreal. I don’t think it’s set in yet. My team has put in so much hard work, so to finally have this pay off today, words can’t describe this,” Karsten said.
The Alberta women defeated Thompson Rivers University in the final 6-3. It’s the school’s third title in the last four years on the women’s side.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I’m sure when it does it’s going to feel surreal. It’s crazy this is happening,” Selena said.
Both Karsten and Selena will be alongside their teams wearing the red and white at the 2019 Universiade in Russia.
But there’s more curling left for them in Leduc this week. The two won’t have long to rest. Selena and Karsten are now joining forces to play in the mixed doubles nationals. Their first game is just hours after their national championship games.
“We’re as ready as we could possibly be. Taking it one step at a time. We feel comfortable with the ice,” Selena said.
In the bronze medal university games, Brock University defeated Mount Allison 12-2 to win women’s bronze and the University of New Brunswick defeated University of Waterloo 7-5 to claim men’s bronze.
Douglas College out of New Westminster, B.C., defeated Fanshawe College from London, Ont., in the men’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association final to claim a national championship.
The men’s bronze medal went to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology from Edmonton after they defeated the University of Alberta Augustana 8-4.
On the women’s side, Fanshawe College defeated Camosun College out of Victoria, B.C., to win the national title 5-4 in an extra end.
In the bronze medal game, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology defeated MacEwan University 8-6.