UPDATE: Quinte duo earn berth in Olympic pre-qualifying tournament
Two young curlers have visions of Olympic rings coming closer after bringing another championship banner to Quinte Curling Club.
Morgan Calwell and Kayla MacMillan went undefeated to win the first ever Under 21 Mixed Doubles Ontario Championships at the Huntsville Curling Club last weekend.
As a result they have earned an invitation to one of four regional qualifying tournaments, the winners of which get a berth in the qualifying tournament in January 2018 that will determine who will represent Canada at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Brantford Mixed Doubles Classic from March 23-26 will feature at least 17 of the top 24 teams in Canada competing to be the first mixed doubles team to represent Canada at the Olympic Games.
Three teams -- Team Canada at the 2016 world championships Marliese Kasner and Dustin Kalthoff, the team of Rachel Homen and John Morris, and the team of Emma Miskew and Tyrel Grant are already qualified from previous regionals. The remaining teams will be the top three finishers at the 2017 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship in April; the winners of the two remaining regional bonspiels, including the event in Brantford, and the remaining top teams from the Canadian Mixed Double rankings who aren’t already qualified.
Calwell and MacMillan earned victory at the Under 221 Ontario championships by taking three points in the seventh end to beat Grace Holyoke and John Willsey of Orillia 8-6.
While the duo have played mixed together for years, this was the first year that the Ontario Curling Federation dropped the Junior Mixed Competition in favour of the new U21 Mixed Doubles game.
Calwell said he was proud to be able to bring another championship banner back to Quinte. He and his brother Mackenzie earned a provincial junior championship two years ago.
In fact the brothers squared off in the semi-final on the weekend in a game that pitted all four members of a former mixed team together.
MacMillan and Morgan Calwell escaped with the win after Mac clipped a guard to give up a late steal.
“It was a bad break but it made the difference in the game,” Calwell said. “It is too bad we had to meet in the semi. It would have been fantastic to be able to meet in the final and battle it out for the gold.”
On their way to the final, Calwell and MacMillan defeated teams from Guelph and Leamington to reach the A qualifier. They opened that by beating Holyoke and Willsey 6-4.
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