MANITOBA JUNIORS START TUESDAY IN PORTAGE

The CurlManitoba TELUS Junior Championships begin Tuesday evening at the Portage Curling Club with 11 Junior Women’s team and 10 Junior Men’s teams competing for the coveted Manitoba championship and a berth in the national championship.

Based on recent past performance at the national championships, Manitoba will have two berths again in 2023 so the two teams in the championship final games will both earn national berths.

The top three teams in the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour rankings are the top three seeds in the Telus Junior Men’s while three of the four top-ranked MJCT teams are the top three seeds in the TELUS Junior Women’s.

JUNIOR MEN:

#1 SEED: Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Cam Olafson, Coach Blaine Malo – the defending champion team with one change from a year ago, Cam Olafson replacing Alexandre Fontaine. McDonald has a long record of success in his young career: 2019-2020-2022 U-18 champion, 2022 Viterra Berth winner and this year’s juniors’ team has also won a 2023 Viterra Berth. The #2 ranked MJCT team also won the end-of-season MJCT Championship (over Freeman)

#2 SEED: Jace Freeman (Virden) Thomas McGillivary, Ryan Ostrowsky, Aaron Macdonell, Coach Graham Freeman – the Virden skip has already this season skipped winning teams in CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Trials and the U-18 Championship (with Huminicki on both teams). This junior team has also won a Viterra Berth for this year. Lead Aaron Macdonell will also go to the Canada Games as Mixed Doubles winner. The team finished the MJCT season ranked #1

#3 SEED Aaron Van Ryssel (Springfield) Riel Dufault, Jonah Peterson, Andrew McKay, Coach Ron Westcott – the MJCT #3 team won one MJCT event (over Freeman) and lost a final (to McDonald) and gained valuable experience by playing in Viterra regional playoffs.

JUNIOR WOMEN:

#1 SEED: Katy Lukowich (Granite), Lauren Rajala, Mikaylah Lyburn, Makenna Hadway, Coach Mark Lukowich – already a Scotties berth winner this season, the Lukowich foursome will go direct from Portage to the Scotties in East St. Paul  They were the winners of one event and were the #2 ranked team on the MJCT this season

#2 SEED: Zoey Terrick (Heather) Jaycee Terrick, Jensen Letham, Tessa Terrick, Coach Clint Cullen – Zoey and Tess Terrick were CurlManitoba’s U-18 champions in 2022. They were the #1 ranked MJCT team this season as a result of three event wins, including the season ending MJCT championship (over Beaudry)

#3 SEED: Grace Beaudry (St. Vital), Emily Ogg, Maddy Hollins, Mackenzie Arbuckle, Julia Millan, Coach Calvin Edie – also a Scotties regional berth winner, Grace Beaudry has had finalist finishes (with a different team) in both the U-18 championships and the Canada Games Trials already this season. They are the #2 ranked team on the MJCT as a result of winning a pair of events along with the Tour Championship finalist finish.

The Junior Men will play a round-robin format with two pools of five teams and a 4-team Page Playoff while the 11 team Junior Women’s event will be a triple knockout, also with a 4-team Page Playoff.

Competition begins at the Portage Curling Club Tuesday, January 17 at 7:30PM with the first Junior Women’s draw. Junior Men’s play begins Wednesday, January 18 at 10AM.

Two games on each draw will be livestreamed, one with commentary and one without. The CurlManitoba TELUS Juniors live-stream can be found at CurlManitoba YouTube page.

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