It was all worth it as Karlee Burgess ran across the ice and wrapped her arms around Mary Fay. The girls had finally won a Canadian Junior Curling Championship.
On Sunday, Team Fay defeated the Sarah Daniels rink out of British Columbia, 9-5, to cap off an incredible run to the championship game.
“We wanted to win this, so getting here is just so crazy,” Burgess said. “I can’t do it without my team, obviously. We battled so hard this week to get where we wanted. It’s just an exciting feeling.”
The win means the Nova Scotia rink – Fay at skip, Kristin Clarke at third, Burgess at second and Janique Leblanc at lead – now becomes Team Canada for the World Junior Curling Championship in Denmark this March.
A rush of emotion came over the skip’s face as she heard the words “Team Canada” in a post-game interview with TSN.
“I can’t even put it into words,” she said later. “It’s the most amazing feeling ever. I don’t even know if it feels real yet. It’s just so hard to believe.”
The Bluenosers got out to an early lead, scoring one in the first, two in the third and a big steal of two in the fourth. Daniels began mounting a slow comeback, however, stealing single points in the next three ends. In the eighth, with B.C. sitting three, Clarke executed a triple takeout to open the door for Fay to score two and go ahead 7-5.
As the ninth came to a close, Fay was sitting shot rock but Daniels had an easy draw for one on the final stone. “At least we’ll still be up by one,” Fay said to her teammates. Seconds later, they watched awestruck as Daniels missed her shot, giving Fay a steal of two.
“(Daniels) was just drawing for one and she came up short,” Burgess said. “I got a little excited after she unfortunately missed that last rock. But we just had to stay focused because we knew anything can happen.”
The girls took their time and kept the house clear, leading to victory.
“We’re pretty overwhelmed but super excited at the moment,” Burgess said afterwards.
Burgess and Fay will head to Lillehammer, Norway, next week for the Youth Olympics. They’ll compete in mixed curling alongside B.C. natives Tyler Tardi and Sterling Middleton. When they get back, they’ll have little time before they embark for the world championships in Denmark, March 5-13.
“School is going to be hard,” Burgess laughed. “We’re missing a little bit for Youth Olympics, and in March we’ll be going away again. But it’s been a good year.”