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Arctic Winter Games – Thursday Recap

Team NT’s female curlers won the territory’s first Arctic Winter Games title in the sport for more than a decade in Fort McMurray on Thursday night.

Reese Wainman, Alex Testart-Campbell, Brooke Smith and Tamara Bain scored five in the fourth end on the way to a 10-4 victory over Alberta North, who shook hands after seven ends.

“I’m still in shock,” said Wainman, skip of the all-Inuvik team. “It doesn’t feel real. We’ve worked so hard for this, for so long.”

Team Wainman celebrates their victory
(Photo provided by Team NT)

The last NWT team to win Arctic Winter Games curling gold featured Olivia Gibbons, Janis O’Keefe, Katharine Thomas and Taryn Williams, who defeated Yukon 8-3 for gold in Whitehorse in 2012.

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The NWT has only won junior female gold on two other occasions: the inaugural games in 1970 and again in 1996.

“The girls put in a lot of hours over the last four years. One of their big goals was to come here, compete and win gold,” said coach Nick Saturnino.

“It’s huge for curling in Inuvik. They’ll go back and hopefully a lot of younger kids will want to curl and emulate what they’re doing.”

The team now travels to Prince Edward Island for the Canada Winter Games next month, followed by U21 nationals at the end of March.

“They’re committed to trying to win the first junior championship for NWT curling,” Saturnino said.

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In Thursday’s speed skating action, Sage Acorn broke another of Olympian Michael Gilday’s Arctic Winter Games records en route to his third gold ulu of the week.

Acorn skated a time of 1:12.15 in the 777m, a hair faster than Gilday’s 1:12.22 some two decades ago. Lochlan Dunn took silver and Byran Clinton bronze, Team NT’s second podium sweep of the week in the sport.

Erika Pollard took silver in the junior female 777m. Brigid Murphy had silver ahead of Morgan Nelson in third over 500m in the juvenile female category.

Arctic Sports legend Veronica McDonald, meanwhile, managed to stay one gold ulu ahead of Acorn by winning the Alaskan high kick open female category – her fourth title of the week.

Team sports update

In hockey, Team NT’s U16 male and U20 female teams reached their finals.

The U16 male team defeated Yukon 2-1 to set up a final against Alberta North on Saturday at 11:30am. The U20 female team also edged out Yukon, winning 4-3, and will play Alberta North for gold on Friday at noon. The U19 male team lost 7-2 to Nunavut in Thursday’s semi-final.

In futsal, the NWT will play Yukon for juvenile female gold on Saturday at 9am after a 10-0 victory over Nunavut on Thursday. The juvenile male team will play Alberta North in that category’s final on Saturday at 10:30am, defeating Yukon 4-2 in a close semi-final.

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The junior male team plays Alberta North in a semi-final on Friday at noon, while the junior female team missed out on a place in the final four.

The NWT’s male volleyball team lost its semi-final 0-3 to Yukon. The female team has a semi-final against Alaska on Friday at 11:15am.

In basketball, the territory’s female team beat Yukon 71-53. The male team hit an extraordinary last-second three-pointer to defeat Yukon 64-61.

Ulu update

GOLD: 28
Female curling team
Veronica McDonald Arctic Sports open female Alaskan high kick
Sage Acorn speed skating junior male 777m

Lochlan Dunn speed skating junior male 777m
Erika Pollard speed skating junior female 777m
Brigid Murphy speed skating juvenile female 500m

Byran Clinton speed skating junior male 777m
Morgan Nelson speed skating juvenile female 500m

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