Newfoundland and Labrador’s male curlers are making a strong bid to join figure skater Melanie Taylor and judo’s Emma Mullett as medal-winners for the province at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
The St. John’s-based rink of skip Nathan Young (Torbay), third Sam Follett (Paradise), second Nathan Locke and lead Ben Stringer (C.B.S.) won its lone game Wednesday in Red Deer, defeating the Northwest Territories 7-4. That put Newfoundland in first-place tie with a 6-1 record, joining British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, all with 6-1 records.
With two days of preliminary-round play plus the playoff rounds remaining, it won’t be until Saturday until the curlers find out of they’ll be standing on the podium. There will be no such wait for Mullett, the 15-year-old from St. John’s, who claimed a bronze medal in the female judo 70kg division Wednesday evening by defeating 17-year-old teammate Natalie Freake of Gander.
It was one of two third-place bouts in the division. In judo, there can be two bronze medals awarded in each weight class.
Mullett’s bronze is the second medal of these Winter Games for N.L., following the gold won by Taylor of Conception Bay South in the female Special Olympics Level 2 figure skating competition on Tuesday night.
In curling, the top six finishers from preliminary play move on to the playoffs, starting Friday evening. However, given their showing over the first half of the week, Young, his teammates and coach Jeff Thomas have to be eyeing a top-two finish. The first- and second-place teams earn byes directly to the semifinal round.
The N.L. men face British Columbia and Quebec today before finishing up Friday morning versus Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland women’s curlers have a tougher task as they own a 2-5 record after a 6-4 loss to NWT Wednesday. But with three games left (the women have the same schedule as their provincial male counterparts) the Corner Brook-based team of skip Mackenzie Mitchell, Sarah McNeil Lamswood, Mikayla O’Reilly and Ainsleigh Piercey hasn’t yet been eliminated from playoff contention.