TRURO - One day after winning the Nova Scotia junior girls curling title, Taylor Clarke still hadn't fully realized the magnitude of the accomplishment.
"It hasn't really sunken in for any of us quite yet," Clarke, who throws third stones for Mary Myketyn-Driscoll's rink, said Tuesday. "It's been a dream goal for a long time."
That dream goal became reality Monday afternoon when Myketyn-Driscoll edged Mayflower's Emily Dwyer 8-6 in the provincial final at Chester Curling Club to earn a berth at the Canadian championship next month in Fort McMurray, Alta.
"Going into it we were pretty positive," said Clarke, 19, from Hilden. "We definitely had a good year and we knew if we brought our A game that we'd be near the top. But then again, there are so many great teams in the province that it's a battle the whole way through."
The Truro rink, which also includes second Mackenzie Proctor and lead Sara Sears, posted a 6-2 record at the eight-team, triple-knockout event.
In the final, Myketyn-Driscoll trailed 6-4 after eight ends, but scored three in the ninth and counted one in the 10th to unseat last year's champion.
"The nerves kicked in for awhile, but I think we all had a very good feeling about it and we were very determined, that's for sure," said Clarke, a second-year arts student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish.
Clarke and Proctor have curled together for the past 10 years. However, the team was formed with Myketyn-Driscoll and Sears just two years ago.
Clarke deflects much of the credit for the team's success to coach Jim Burgess for keeping the players focused on attaining goals.
"Jim is by far the main reason that we ever got as far as we did," she said. "He is absolutely phenomenal. I know that none of us would be the curlers we are today, or even really the people ... Jim takes curling totally above and beyond just a sport, and he built more of a family than he did a team, and that was key, because there's a lot of pressure on those games at provincials and when you can go in being more like best friends than teammates it's so much easier when you know the other three girls on the ice totally have your back."
The national championship will take place Feb. 2 to 10 and Clarke said the team is thrilled with the opportunity to represent Nova Scotia on the grand stage.
"It's exciting, it really is," she said. "We are a pretty happy group of girls right now."
Mayflower's Stuart Thompson captured the junior boys crown on Monday. Thompson posted a 7-0 record at the provincial tournament.