Vikings ready for Canada

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

The University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings curling program is ready for the national spotlight.

The Vikings are hosting the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Curling Championship at the Rose City Curling Club from March 22-25.

The tournament will feature the top teams from the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Conference.

Despite getting a bye to the tournament as hosts, the Vikings men — skip Andrew Klassen, third Colton Simard, second Aiden Anderson and lead Austin Lavallee — earned their way by winning the ACAC championship two weeks ago at Lakeland College in Vermilion, and as such they will carry the top seed out of Alberta into nationals. They will be joined by ACAC silver medallists NAIT Ooks and bronze medallists RDC Kings. The Lakeland Rustlers and Olds College Broncos will also be participating out of Alberta.

Coming out west from Ontario will be the OCAA champion Humber Hawks, No. 2 Fanshawe Falcons and the No. 3 Mohawk Mountaineers.

The young Vikings women’s rink — skipped by Nikki Smith with Lynnelle Mahe, Jensen Manners and Katelyn Skolski — finished fourth at the ACAC championships, losing 7-1to the Concordia Thunder. They will be joined by Red Deer College Queens, NAIT Ooks and Lakeland Rustlers at the championship.

Out of Ontario, Humber College won gold while Niagara College took silver ad Fanshawe College bronze.

The Vikings have never finished higher than third in the country, which they have done on three occasions, including the men’s team last year.

This is the first time they have ever hosted the national curling championships.

There will be two draws on Wednesday, at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. with the annual CCAA banquet at 7 p.m. at Camrose Resort and Casino. Day 2 has three draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. with two more draws on Friday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. If tie breakers are needed they will go Friday evening.

Saturday will feature the playoffs, with the semifinals at 9:30 a.m. and the finals at 2:30 p.m. with the medal ceremony to follow. 

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