COVID-19 has left a lot of local athletes caught between a rock and a hard place.
Although they won the BC curling championship in Cranbrook in 2020, Steph Jackson-Baier and Corey Chester had their hopes of competing in mixed doubles at the national level swept aside by the pandemic last year.
Fortunately, the Victoria residents will take another shot in Calgary, March 18-25. Jackson-Baier, who is also taking part in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Feb. 19-28, said in a media release she is proud to have the opportunity to compete in two events this year.
“Corey and I are especially looking forward to competing as our trip to the nationals was cancelled with only days’ notice last year,” Jackson-Baier said. “We are excited and hopeful that during these unique times, Team BC, and other athletes attending the upcoming national championships from our province can band together to share knowledge and experience to do all B.C. proud.”
Jackson Baier has also been added as a fifth to Team Brown from Kamloops, which includes skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Samantha Fisher.
The team would have liked a regular season of competition to prepare and not knowing what to expect in Calgary is a challenge.
“We are all excited but there’s a lot of unknowns,” Brown said. “It will probably be a relief when we are in the bubble because all of our questions will be answered by then. Team dynamic wise, it’s a pretty easy fit to get back into the swing of it.”
The decision to send last year’s provincial champions to this year’s nationals was made in the fall of 2020 as part of a contingency plan in the event Curl BC could not hold provincial finals due to sport and travel restrictions, which have been extended to Feb. 5.
Team Jackson-Baier-Chester will join Team Brown from Kamloops and Team Laycock from Vernon in the curling bubble in Calgary, which will feature the 2021 Home Hardware Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
Other events in the bubble include the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier presented by AGI, and the BKT Tires and OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship. The competitions begin with the Scotties on Feb. 19 and conclude with the World Men’s Curling Championship on April 11.
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