They fell short of their ultimate goal, but put together an incredible run in the process.
The Skylar Ackerman rink out of Moose Jaw came away with a silver medal from the 2018 Canadian Under-18 Women's Curling Championship in St. Andrews, N.B. over the weekend.
Wearing the Saskatchewan colours, Team Ackerman dropped a 6-3 game to Nova Scotia in the gold medal game on Saturday.
"It's definitely bittersweet to come away with the silver medal because we couldn't quite pull off the gold, but second best in the whole country is still pretty good and I'm pretty proud of our team," said Ackerman, who served as skip on Team Saskatchewan, joined by third Madison Johnson, second Chantel Hoag and lead Samantha McLaren.
The young team, which doesn't feature a player over 16, put together a great week at their first national championship. Saskatchewan posted a 4-2 record in the round robin and then won three straight playoff games to get into the championship game on Saturday.
Ackerman said they're coming away proud of the run that they had, "We had a really successful week together, we caught onto the ice, we had great communication and we improved each and every game, so I'm really happy with our first run at a national competition," she said.
"We've been working really hard all year and to have the hardware to show for it is really nice."
The team won a provincial title to get to nationals, posting a 7-0 record on the way to that championship win. They also claimed a silver medal at the 2018 Saskatchewan Winter Games earlier this year as the hardware has piled up.
Having the success that they did and growing as a team throughout the year has made for an amazing season for the foursome.
"We've learned so much about each other and just about the game and now going to our first national championship, we know what to expect in the future and what kind of things we need to work on to have more success moving forward," said Ackerman.
In the gold medal game at nationals, Ackerman said they played well, but Nova Scotia just made more shots than they did.
"I was definitely really nervous going in, but we handled it just like any other game and tried to stay relaxed and we did a good job of that," said Ackerman. "They just outplayed us, they played really well and it was a great game."
Saskatchewan blanked the first three ends with the hammer before scoring two in the fourth. Nova Scotia responded with two of their own in the fifth to tie the game.
The turning point came in the sixth end when Nova Scotia stole two to take the lead. Saskatchewan struck back in the seventh, but could only score one to pull within one. They couldn't get the steal in the eighth, giving up two for the 6-3 loss.
"(The sixth) end, they had us on the ropes, they didn't miss a shot that end and we couldn't quite put the rock through where we wanted to and were just on the wrong side of the inch," said Ackerman.
Coming out of nationals, Ackerman added that they have areas that they need to improve on to continue to grow as a team.
"We're going to have to work more on some strategy things, rock placement for sure and just keep working on the technical side of the game," she said.
Hoag was awarded the Fair Play Award, which is presented by Curling Canada officials, while coach Patrick Ackerman took home the Coaches Sportsmanship Award from nationals.
The silver medal finish for the Ackerman rink also wraps up a big year for curling in the Friendly City with two national finalists coming out of the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre as Marie Wright took the Wheelchair National title last month.