Time running out for Nimik to repeat at prov. juniors

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:10 PM ET

Five full years after Allison Nimik surprised everyone by winning a provincial curling title at the tender age of 15, the Victoria skip is still trying to prove she is no one-hit wonder.

Nimik, now 20, is competing in her seventh and last provincial junior women's curling championship this week at the St. Vital Curling Club.

The University of Manitoba student is in contention, with a 5-1 record through six draws, and she'd like nothing better than to get her name on the championship trophy one more time.

"I was hoping for one more, I'm not going to lie," the affable Nimik said yesterday after a 9-3 loss to unbeaten defending champion Cal Neufeld of La Salle.

"I remember (winning) like it was yesterday to be honest, but our province is so tough, if I only won the one, I wouldn't be disappointed.

"If you look at the past however many years, how many people have won twice? There haven't been very many."

NOT FOR A LACK OF TRYING

Nimik, one of the youngest skips ever to win a provincial junior title in Manitoba, went to St. Catharines, Ont., back in 2001 with the weight of the Buffalo on her back. Her team managed only four wins at the nationals, but the skip couldn't help but believe that more provincial titles would come her way.

So far that hasn't been the case, but not for a lack of trying.

One thing she has learned is that winning at age 15 was an incredible feat, especially because she sees how hard it is now that she's 20.

"It's incredible ... I look back now and I don't know how I did it," said Nimik, who curled with Kristin Loder, Lindsay Titheridge and Liz Peters back then.

"This is my last year, my seventh provincials, so it's been a long, long journey but it's not over yet ... one win today and we're set."

Nimik's team, which includes Kristen Foster, Peters and Karen Titheridge, will make the playoffs in the Red Group with a win over Erin Mahoney of Brandon (also 5-1) in the final round-robin game today. Neufeld (6-0) plays Heather Pierson of Victoria (4-2) in her last game but has already clinched first place and a berth in the Page playoff 1-vs.-1 game tonight.

Kaitlyn Lawes of Pembina (5-0) and Kaileigh Strath of Souris (4-1) were the frontrunners in the Black Group heading into last night's late draw.

Nimik believes her team has what it takes to be provincial and national champions.

"We practise a lot and throwing-wise, I'm pretty much the same girl ... where I've improved a hundred times is strategy," she said. "That's definitely one point where a lot of the skips in Manitoba are lacking, and that's why when we go to nationals we haven't been doing well."

Nimik's goal after this year is to hook up with a women's team and become competitive immediately at that level.

"We've done a lot with the ladies tour this year, which is awesome, because it kinda gets my name out there," she said. "I'm hoping to get picked up next year.

"Worst case, I'm not afraid to throw my own team together and be competitive. In two or three years, competing for the Manitoba ladies title is not unthinkable for me."

In the junior men's event at the Wildewood Club, top seed Adam Norget of Heather and Springfield's Curtis Joyal are tied atop the Red Group at 5-1, while plenty of teams were in contention in the Black Group heading into last night's late draw, including Petersfield's Kyle Flett (4-1), Fort Garry's Ryan Coy (4-1) and West Kildonan's Travis Bale (4-1).


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