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Pearl Gillis, Tyanna Bain, Mataya Gillis and Adrianna Hendricks raise their brooms in celebration as the four prepare to head to Langley, B.C. for the Canadian U21 National Curling Championships Jan. 18 to 26. The team will keep fans updated on their progress via the Facebook page. (Missing: alternate Tyra Bain and coach Tyler Bain.)

It’s been a series of deeply emotional ends for Team Bain, who spent the lead up to the Christmas holiday in back-to-back competitions, first vying for a spot at the Arctic Winter Games and then in the Territorial U21 Finals.

In the end, Team Bain showed they could compete with the best of them, eliminated from the Arctic Winter Games in the very last throw of the trials.

But the girls are taking it in stride.

“We blame it on Adrianna,” joked Tyanna Bain. “She has way too much muscle. She almost made a hole in the ice.”

“Yeah, I swept too hard guys,” mocked Adrianna Hendrick, flexing her biceps.

However, they placed second in the Territorial championships and were the highest placed U21 team, which was enough to get them on the card for the New Holland 2020 Canadian Curling Junior Championships in Langley B.C, which runs Jan. 18-26. The team took to the air Jan. 16 and won’t be back until the end of the month.

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It will also be the last tournament for Mataya Gillis, who will be hanging up her broom next year to focus on Grade 12.

“We have a fifth, Tyra, who is Tyanna’s sister,” she explained. “She’ll be coming up in my place. She played two games with us in Yellowknife.”

“We’re going to rock on,” interjected Pearl. “We’re going to take them to a U15 event and play with them. That’s a good way to start.”

Mataya noted she wasn’t going to be too far away from the team.

“She’s my sister, so if they go to nationals next year, ‘Woop woop’, I’m the cheer squad,” she said. “I’ll be the one with the painted blue face in the crowd holding the blue finger.”

Life on the road has been challenging but rewarding for the tetrad, who are now juggling the year-end bonspiel with their end of semester exams. All four athletes have exams they day they get back and all four admitted keeping both their games and grades at an ‘A’ level takes maximum effort.

“It’s a lot of school,” said Adrianna. “But it’s a lot of fun.”

Combine that with a rigorous schedule over the championship — the girls are slated for 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. games for three days straight with the entire day in-between — and the team expects to be pretty tired by the time they get back to town.

They won’t have much time for rest, however. Pearl and Adrianna are helping coach the next crop of curlers and helping with the Inuvik Curling club’s U12-U15 bonspiel Feb. 1. The girls took the occasion to invite anyone interested in learning the sport to come out and give it a throw.

“Come try it!” said Pearl. “You might get to nationals.”

In the meantime, you can follow Team Bain’s progress at the tournament on their Facebook page.

All four girls expressed their thanks to their supporters, families and coaches for all the help getting them this far, though Tyanna wanted to highlight one stalwart in particular.

“Thank you to Sam Skinner, our ice maker,” she said. “He’s a saint.”

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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