Shaela Hayward, Keira Krahn, India Young and Rylie Cox are 2024 Canadian U18 curling champions.
The Carman Curling Club foursome defeated Jolianne Fortin of Quebec 8-5 in Saturday’s gold medal game in Ottawa.
Hayward started strong with three in the first end, gave up a duece in the second and then took control of the game thanks to four in the third end.
Team Hayward won four of six games in Pool C and then reeled off four wins in the playoffs.
Hayward defeated Sarah Bergeron of Quebec 8-1 in her playoff opener; edged Emma DeSchiffart of Alberta 6-5 in the quarterfinals and downed Rebecca Regan of Nova Scotia 4-2 in the semifinals.
"Our goal going into the U18 Nationals was to enjoy the experience, but we were focused on representing our province well and leaving it all on the ice in every game," texted coach Diane Hayward after the closing ceremonies. "These girls battled so hard all week and put themselves through to the gold medal game where they played so great. I am just so proud of this team. They put in so much hard work and deserve every bit of this success."
Hayward, Krahn, Young & Cox are the first Manitoba champions to win a Canadian curling title since the 2019-2020 season when Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias & Lauren Lenentine won the National Juniors in Langley and Kerri Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard & Briane Harris captured the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw.
“CurlManitoba is excited and extremely proud of Team Hayward,” noted Association executive director Craig Baker. “It was fun to watch them have success at our Provincial events and now at the Nationals. We wish them continued success for the remainder of the season.”
Team Hayward, who arrive home Sunday afternoon from Ottawa, will be competing at the 2024 Provincial Junior Championships February 21st-25th at their home club in Carman.