A bronze medal result in a team’s first trip to the Scotties is something that many curlers can’t say they have accomplished.
For Prince Albert’s Kara Thevenot, she was able to do that this week in Sydney, N.S. as the lead for Robyn Silvernagle’s rink out of North Battleford as they reached the podium for Saskatchewan at the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
“Obviously it’s a little bit different from the provincials and the Grand Slam of Curling events, but we just treated like one of those bonspiels that we have been to,” Thevenot said. “We all have our routines that we feel comfortable with and we all just focused on each game.
“It was great to be curling with three of my best friends and it was great to have a whole bunch of our family and friends there in Nova Scotia. You have to embrace going to an event like that, because you never know when you’ll have the chance to go there again.”
The rink, which also includes multi-time provincial champion Stefanie Lawton at third and Jessie Hunkin at second, finished in second place in a highly competitive round-robin with an 8-3 record.
“There were a lot of games during the week that we felt like we were in control out there, but with the five rock rule this year you have to be play well until the very end as the other teams have a chance to come back and win,” Thevenot said.
“The game that stands out the most to me was our last round-robin game on Friday against (Ontario’s Rachel) Homan. We were in control of our own destiny and we played a great game. We forced them into a couple of mistakes and we got ourselves into the 1 vs. 2 Page playoff game.”
Although the Silvernagle rink would lose that contest to eventual champion Chelsea Carey of Alberta and fell to Homan in the semifinal, they were able to claw their way back after giving up big ends to their opponents in both games.
“That’s something we’ve really become better at over the last year and a lot of that comes from the work we’ve done with our sports psychologist,” Thevenot said.
“It really came down to a shot here and a shot there in both games and we just kept the pressure on both of those teams as it wasn’t over till it’s over. Obviously, we would have loved to be in the final on Sunday, but if someone told us before we left that we would finish in third place at the Scotties, we would have been really happy.”
One of the biggest highlights of the week for Thevenot was seeing the amount of support the rink got from all over Canada.
“Most of our families had to leave on Friday as that was all the time they had booked off, but we looked up in the stands during the playoffs and we saw a bunch of people that we didn’t recognize waving the Saskatchewan flag,” Thevenot said. “It turned out they were from Sydney and they hopped on board to support us.
“Obviously the support from my friends and family in Prince Albert and my hometown of Birch Hills was fantastic, but it really sunk in with how much support we got from the province when we found there were people at hockey games in Tisdale and Nipawin that would rush out to the lobby in the intermission to watch our game.
“The chance to wear the green jacket is something that we’ve all dreamed about since we were little kids, and it’s a feeling that’s hard to explain when you get that opportunity.”
Thanks to their performance at the Scotties and on the World Curling Tour this season, the Silvernagle rink have been invited to take part in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling’s final two events later this year.
They will travel to Toronto for the Players’ Championship on April 9-14 and will compete in the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Saskatoon from April 23-28.
“We’ve worked our way up to being among the top level teams in the country this year and we’re looking to stay there,” Thevenot said. “If we have good showings at those two Slams, it gives us a chance to take part in other big events like the Canada Cup next year.
“There’s been a lot of hard work to get into tournaments like this and it gets a little easier to go to more of the Slams thanks to the success that we’ve had this season. It’s been a great year for our team.”