The Skylar Ackerman rink finished off an incredible 2018 with another amazing run at a provincial championship.
The local team finished second at the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Women's Curling Championship in Saskatoon on Monday, securing one of Saskatchewan's two spots at nationals in Prince Albert later this month.
"Our goal going into the event was just to make playoffs and then from there hopefully make the final because we knew two teams would come out and to achieve that goal is really nice," said Ackerman. "It's bittersweet to lose the final and not get that green jacket, but it's still going to be a great experience to go to nationals as the host team."
Ackerman lost to Regina's Rachel Erickson, 5-3, in the final on New Year's Eve. It was the third game of the day for the Ackerman rink after they beat Saskatoon's Madison Kleiter, 8-7, and Weyburn's Emily Haupstein, 7-4, to fight their way into the final.
Ackerman said the team played their hearts out throughout the day, "We had two really close games," she said. "We were down quite a bit in our first game, we were down 5-1 at one point in the game, and we told ourselves to stay resilient, kept trust in each other, got our rocks where they needed to be, got some pressure on the other team, got a few mistakes out of them and were able to climb our way back into the game."
Coming back in games was something that Ackerman and company had become accustomed to by the playoff round after securing a few comeback wins during the round robin.
The local team's only two losses during provincials came at the hands of Team Erickson as they fell 8-5 in the round robin and then dropped another tight game in the final.
"It's always a great game against them, they're really nice girls and they make a lot of shots, it always comes down to one or two shots against them, but hopefully when we get to nationals we'll be able to beat them," said Ackerman.
The past 12 months have been pretty incredible for the Ackerman rink, which also features third Madison Johnson, second Chantel Hoag and lead Samantha McLaren. The team won their first provincial title last March at the Under-18 Provincial Championship and they followed that up by placing second at nationals.
Just two weeks ago, the rink won their second green jacket by capturing the Canada Winter Games Saskatchewan Trials in North Battleford.
Ackerman said they're heading to the Junior Nationals to win, but it will also be another chance to grab more national championship experience before the Canada Winter Games.
"It will be a great experience and hopefully we can gain some more momentum there moving forward into Canada Games and be a little more comfortable in that arena setting," she said.
The Canadian Junior Curling Championship will be held at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert from Jan. 19-27.