Hilden curler ready to start first try at national junior title at 15
TRURO - Karlee Burgess has wanted to take a crack at a national curling championship since she got her start in the game at age six.
Hilden's Karlee Burgess will be competing at the Canadian Junior Curling Championship, which gets underway this weekend in Liverpool, with Mary Fay's foursome from Chester. With three of the team's members just 15, the rink is hoping to learn as much as it can from the experience in hopes of hunting down a Canadian title in the future. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
She didn't have to wait long.
At just 15, the Hilden resident will do so this weekend with her Chester Curling Club teammates Mary Fay, Jennifer Smith and Janique LeBlanc at the Canadian junior championship in Liverpool Jan. 18 to 26. Burgess, who started packing on Tuesday, can't wait.
"I just can't stop thinking about the opening ceremonies and wearing our Nova Scotia stuff," she said with a beaming smile at Truro Curling Club.
The foursome opens the event Saturday at 2 p.m. when it meets Newfoundland and Labrador's Sarah Hill before taking on Meaghan Brezden of Manitoba at 7:30 p.m.
"This has been a dream for me," Burgess said of the lead-up to the event. "I've always wanted to see my team picture on the Canadian juniors website. It was kind of surreal when I first saw it."
The team punched its ticket to the tournament on New Year's Eve when it beat defending champion Mary Myketyn-Driscoll, representing Truro Curling Club, 9-4 in the provincial final at Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville. The victory capped an impressive run by a young team - LeBlanc is the oldest at 16 - which managed to topple older, more experienced rinks with previous nationals appearances under their belts.
"We really worked hard since September, October," Burgess, who throws second stones, said. "It wasn't just looking for this. We've just been trying this whole year to do great and our coach and the rest of the team have put a lot of time into it."
Because of that, and their young ages, Burgess said she feels the Bluenosers can catch some teams off guard.
"I kind of hope so," she said with a smile and laugh. "Just because everyone will see we're so young and probably just dismiss us for that. But I think we can surprise some people."
That strategy likely won't work in the opener though. The Fay foursome has already played Newfoundland twice this season with Fay taking both meetings. Burgess said the team is hoping it can get a win off the bat to shake off the nerves and start building some momentum.
"If we can play well that first game then I think we'll be confident and ready to start the whole week off," she said.
But whether they win or lose, Burgess' father Craig said the event will be a success for the group. He should know; the 45-year-old has only been a two-time runner-up in the Brier national men's championship, and a Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canadian and world junior champion.
"It's an experience that'll make them a stronger team and it'll make them hungry because they'll want to get back there again," he said. "Once you get a taste of it you ant to go back.
"It's huge for them, at this age, to be playing in a national event and it'll just make them better and stronger."
On Twitter: @tdnmatt
Following is Team Nova Scotia's schedule at the 2014 Canadian Junior Curling Championship Jan. 18 to 26 at Liverpool Curling Club in Liverpool:
Nova Scotia vs. Newfoundland, 2 p.m.
Nova Scotia vs. Manitoba, 6:30 p.m.
Ontario vs. Nova Scotia, 2 p.m.
Nova Scotia vs. Northern Ontario, 2 p.m.
P.E.I. vs. Nova Scotia, 6:30 p.m.
New Brunswick vs. Nova Scotia, 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday to Sunday