Curling – called “chess on ice” by some – has gained popularity in the last couple of years at Marc Garneau while under the coaching of Ms. Wiltenburg. This year, the Girls B and Boys A teams performed particularly well, progressing to the final stages in their respective tournaments.
The Boys A team won all four of their regular season games, of which one was by default due to a lack of players on the other team. During playoffs, they won both of their games. Garneau’s Tier 1 team has never lost regionals, “so making the city championship was almost expected this year,” said team member Jacky Yao. However, TDSB could only afford to send one team to OFSAA, as it was being held in Fort Frances. This led to the regional competition being more competitive, as only two teams could be sent to cities.
Jacky Yao said, “I credit our success to the rest of my team, who carried me.” He also felt the amount of practice they got on ice helped: “Compared to the rest of the league, we have by far the highest number of out of school curlers.”
The team played their City Championship match on 28 February against Silverthorne, losing 12-3, missing their chance to progress to OFSAA.
When asked why curling was important to him, Will Randall, the skip of the boys’ team said, “As someone who enjoys a lot of sport, curling is unique in that it provides a combination of strategy and precision.” Ms. Wiltenburg enjoys coaching curling for similar reasons: “I love the strategy of curling and the social nature of the game. Although it is very difficult, I enjoy the challenge of it.”
Up until the finals, the girls’ team, competing in Tier 2, had two wins, one tie, and one loss. On 22 February, the team faced Albert Campbell CI in a nail-biting semi-final game. They were tied 6-6, which meant the skip from each team would have to throw one rock as a tiebreaker. Whichever team’s rock was closer to the button, also known as the centre of the house, would win. Mei Yi Niu threw that winning rock, taking the team to finals.
The girls’ gold medal game was played on 27 February against York Mills CI, and they won 10–0. Sylvia Chong, another member of the winning team, said “I feel like our team has improved so much this past season and our last game has definitely been a highlight.” The team didn’t do very well last year, but they “gained valuable experience” that helped them succeed this year. When asked what she believed made the team so successful, Mei Yi said, “I think it was our perseverance and our collective eagerness and drive even in times when the situation didn’t look so good for us.”
Both teams did extremely well, especially considering they had minimal time to practice on ice. Ms. Wiltenburg was pleased with their performance, saying
“I was especially impressed with the girls’ team and how successful they were as they all started playing within the past two or three years. I am very proud of what both teams accomplished.”