Congratulations to the SKSS Girls and Westsyde Boys high school curling teams. Both are this years Provincial High School Champions. The Kamloops Curling Club is very proud to have these teams as club members.

Kamloops high school teams bring home pair of provincial curling championships

Brendan Kergin – Mar 9, 2020 / 8:17 pm | Story: 287761

Two Kamloops high schools are getting new championship banners this week.

Curling teams from South Kamloops Secondary School (SKSS) and Westsyde Secondary School (WSS) both went undefeated this weekend in the provincial tournament in Winfield.

The WSS boys’ and SKSS girls’ teams finished with 6-0 records over the four-day tournament.

“It was a big deal for us,” says SKSS skip Holly Hafeli. “I think we didn’t realize it until that final game.”

Hafeli’s team included her twin sister Natalie Hafeli as lead, second Natasha Olmsted and third Jorja Kopytko with Brad Epp as SKSS’ coach.

“I have to say we wanted to win it for our second,” Hafeli tells KamloopsMatters. “She’s in Grade 12.”

While they ran the table for a perfect run, Hafeli says winning the provincial championship wasn’t as simple as it might sound.

“The final was down to the final stone,” she says. “In the eighth end we had to steal or limit them to one and we stole.”

They finished the game 6-4.

“We shook hands and there was a little smile I had to keep hidden while we [congratulated each other],” she says. “The celebratory cry was right after.”

The Hafeli sisters and Kopytko will be back next year, she says. Both she and her sister are just 14 and in Grade 9, while Kopytko is in Grade 10. They also curl together outside of school.

“I’m not super well known at school so it’ll be nice to have the school celebrate my team’s hard work,” Hafeli says. “We’ll be playing again and hopefully we’ll make it again.”

Meanwhile, defending champion Bryan Yamada says it was good to get the repeat.

He skipped a team with third Zander Landygo, second Nolan Bottineau and lead Daniel Griffiths.

“It felt good that we could prove to ourselves and everyone else that it’s not a fluke and we could do it again,” he says. “It definitely wasn’t easy.”

The WSS team won in 2019 and this year, their experience was similar to the girls’ team in earning that perfect record despite some close games.

Yamada says two games in the round-robin portion went to extra ends.

“Those two were really good games,” he says. “The other teams are obviously top of their zone, so it wasn’t going to be an easy time getting through.”

However, Yamada’s team was able to win the championship game a little early, winning 8-4 with their opponent, Riverside Secondary, calling it.

“We were really looking forward to all of it because it was the thing we were most shooting for this year,” he says.

He adds that he’d like to thank team coaches, Brent Yamada (who’s also his father), teacher sponsor Kendra Hallstrom and former coach Ray Olsen., along with all of the parents who’ve supported them.

As a Grade 12 student, the championship marks the end of his school career. Yamada says he’ll likely rejoin the curling world after university.

“I think for all of my players they’ll continue to be involved in the sport,” he says. “Whether or not we stick together, I think we’ll all be a part of the sport forever.”