Jared Kolomaya was the only Kamloopsian left standing on Sunday at the B.C. Curling Championships, perched atop the podium at the Kamloops Curling Club and locked in to compete for the first time at the Tim Hortons Brier.
“It’s what you grow up dreaming about,” said Kolomaya, who played second at provincials for Team Richard, which included skip Brent Pierce of New Westminster, third Jeff Richard of Kelowna and lead Nicholas Meister of Langley.
“Especially growing up in Manitoba. It was always about trying to get that buffalo and that purple heart. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to finally get one.”
Richard needed 11 ends to best Paul Cseke of Victoria 11-8 in the championship game — and a world-class shot from Pierce in the ninth end.
“Brent made an unbelievable shot in nine to draw the side of the button for us to get two,” said Kolomaya, the Manitoban who moved to Kamloops in March of 2018. “It was probably one of the best curling shots I’ve ever been part of.
“We played a pretty solid 10th. Cseke had a really hard shot to win. It was probably there. It was really close. He ended up jamming it and got one. We played a perfect 11th.”
Richard scored three in the 11th end to secure victory.
The Brier is slated to run from March 4 to March 13 in Lethbridge.
Pierce and Richard are Brier veterans, but the event will mark the first Canadian championship experience for Kolomaya and Meister, the front end that has been curling together for about four years.
The victorious Richard team formed in time for this season, but had only played four games together as a complete foursome prior to the provincial championship.
“It’s been a little bit surreal,” said Kolomaya, whose team vanquished Kamloops product and defending B.C. champion Jim Cotter 7-5 in the semifinal round. “We gelled right from Game 1. We were all on the same page throughout the week and it felt pretty natural curling together.”
The Mitchell Kopytko rink of Kamloops, which includes Fadden brothers Calder, Cooper and Coburn, posted an 0-3 record to miss the playoffs.
Kolomaya is married to Samantha Fisher, whose Team Brown rink fell short of reaching the national Scotties for a third consecutive year.
Brown, the Kamloops Curling Club outfit that includes skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Fisher, dropped a playoff game to fellow C qualifier Sarah Wark of Abbotsford.
“It’s always disappointing when you don’t have your best showing,” Fisher said. “We just had missed opportunities and, honestly, I don’t think the curling gods were really in our favour this week.
“But I was so excited for him [Kolomaya]. This is something he’s been working for for a long time. It’s really hard to watch. That’s what I learned this week. It’s emotional. I’m just so excited for him and his team.”
Brown has one event remaining on its schedule this season, the Best of the West in April in Saskatoon.
Team Wark — which included Karla Thompson and Amanda Guido of Kamloops — edged Brown 8-7 to advance to the semifinal round, in which it fell 6-4 to Mary-Anne Arsenault and her Central Okanagan-based quartet.
Arsenault, a five-time Canadian champion and two-time world champion, won the women’s provincial title, besting Kayla MacMillan of Vancouver 8-6 in the title tilt.
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is slated to run from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6 in Thunder Bay.
Curling Canada announced last week the 2023 national Scotties will be held in Kamloops.