Graeme Weagle and his Chester-based team are the u21 Nova Scotia men's curling champions.
The team went 7-2 overall at the eight-team provincial championships held in Sackville December 27-31. In the process they defeated four-time u21 champion Matthew Manuel and his Halifax-based team.
Team Weagle now advances to the national championships in Prince Albert, Sask. January 19-27. The winner will represent Canada at the World Championships that will be held in Liverpool, N.S. in February.
Weagle, who throws third stones, is joined by mate Owen Purcell, second Jeffrey Meagher and lead Brett Dorey. This is the second year that this team has been together and their second straight provincial title.
Last year, three members of the team won the U18 provincials and in turn nabbed the national championships. Graeme's brother, Scott was playing in the lead position last season.
"It's a dream come true to get to junior nationals," said Weagle. "It feels really good to beat the Manuel rink after so many years of losing to them. They are a really good team and they've had a long reign over the province."
The win was extra special for Weagle, whose father, Don, passed away in early December.
"It's been really tough. But I know he would be super proud and he's definitely watching," he said. "It feels great to win this one for him. It felt like he was there helping along the way."
Second-year coach, Anthony Purcell (Owen's father) said, "It's incredibly special. This is really the big stage. They are still fairly young and considering the competition here in Nova Scotia, it is pretty awesome." Weagle and Meagher are both 19; Purcell is 18 and Dorey is 21.
Since coming together two years ago, the team has been consistent winners, reaching 16 straight tournament finals and winning 12.
"Overall, we're happy with how we've been playing, and we hope to keep that going in the next month at nationals," said Weagle. "We've had quite a bit of success in a short bit of time."
Coach Purcell added, "to be frank, Owen and Graham are just incredible shot makers and Meagher and Dorey, I think, are the best sweepers in the province at the junior level. The team has clicked from day one."
Looking back at their latest conquest, Purcell says, "we were playing as good as we have been in the past two years. We really started off well and played a couple of strong games."
They then ran into Team Manuel in the A-side qualifier, "in that first game, they really took control early and basically showed us why they were the champions."
Team Weagle re-grouped in the triple knockout event and finished strong. Following their first loss, they moved to the B side and again met Team Manuel in the B qualifier. This time, Weagle was able to squeak out an 8-7 victory.
Weagle then moved to the C-side and won two straight including the C qualifier. This meant that they had wrapped up two playoff spots. Manuel had the other spot and needed to beat Team Weagle twice to claim the championship.
In the first playoff game on December 30, Manuel won 8-4, setting up the final Sunday morning.
In this game, Team Weagle came out strong and ended up scoring two in the first and three in the third for an early 5-2 lead and ended up winning 10-4.
"To be honest, we were awful in that first game," said Purcell. "But we had a chance to regroup overnight and probably played the best game that we've ever played to win."
Heading into the 14-team national event, Purcell says that the team is confident, "we are feeling really good and are playing the best that we ever had in the past to years, so I think we are ready for it," he said. "We honestly feel that we can medal at this event."