Back when Nanaimo’s three Van Osch sisters were curling together in the juvenile division it was easy to say, ‘oh, they’ll make it to the Scotties one day.’
Easy to say, maybe. Not easy to do, to be sure. But Kesa, Kalia and Marika Van Osch and their teammates have done it, and will be Team B.C. at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts starting this week.
“It puts a lot in perspective, and it also makes you feel happy you put the work in for it, because curling, at the national level, is a lot of work…” said Kesa, the oldest sister and the skip. “It really shows the discipline we’ve put in over the years has really, finally, actually paid off. It’s really nice, because lots of teams don’t get that opportunity.”
Team Van Osch made it on the first try, in a way, with Marika, the youngest sister, now aged up to the women’s division.
“We were supposed to be building, learning as a team, kind of figuring out things,” said Marika, who plays third. “So to achieve this our first year was pretty crazy.”
Kesa, Marika, Kalia, who plays second, and Amy Gibson, the lead, didn’t necessarily curl consistently all season, but they peaked at the right time. At Curl B.C.’s women’s championships at the Victoria Curling Club earlier this month, Team Van Osch dominated the playoffs and earned Team B.C. jackets.
“We really found our groove, we really felt comfortable out there, it just felt right for once,” Kesa said.
As the team embraced after its championship win, Kesa said she was not only excited but also proud to be able to win for her teammates, and with them. She’s the only one who’s been to the Tournament of Hearts before, having represented B.C. in 2014.
“It’s a very different dynamic, a very different team,” she said. “This team’s really close. We’re more like family – we are family.”
Kalia said the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is the ultimate dream and while she acknowledged that she and her teammates might not be the favoured team, she said they’ll be able to handle themselves on the big stage.
“The biggest thing that’s helped us this year is focusing on what we’re capable of and doing it to the best of our abilities,” she said.
Marika said that’s been the team’s mindset since provincials, to continue to work on the things that have gotten them to this point.
“Our coach always says, ‘you don’t have to do anything different, you’ve just got to do the same thing better,’” she said.
Team Van Osch is coached by Bill Tschirhart. Rachelle Kallechy is the alternate. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is being held at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre from Jan. 27-Feb. 4. Team B.C.’s first game is Saturday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. when it takes on Team Canada, skipped by Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot. Look for more coverage later this week at www.nanaimobulletin.com/sports.