Inuvik's Pearl Gillis lifted a national curling title at the age of 13 on Sunday as she won mixed doubles gold with Alberta partner Karsten Sturmay in Shawinigan, Quebec.
The mixed doubles event is contested between players whose teams do not reach the men's or women's playoffs at Canada's junior national championships. Two-person teams and a coach are chosen from the remaining pool – Gillis and Sturmay were coached by Quebec's Daniel Bédard.
The combined NWT-Alberta unit defeated Ontario's Grace Holyoake and New Brunswick's Felipe Marin 8-4 to take the title.
Mixed doubles gold adds to a collection of trophies Gillis has amassed in Quebec this week. She was also chosen by her fellow athletes to receive the tournament's Sportsmanship Award alongside a Fair Play Award as selected by the umpires.
Pretty special way to end my last junior nationals playing mixed doubles with an absolute sweetheart of a human being. Reminders of why I love this sport come in all shapes and sizes, and 72 pound Pearl Gillis from Inuvik, NWT may just be one of the biggest ones #perspective https://t.co/iFe1zgHavP
— Karsten Sturmay (@k_sturmay) January 22, 2018
Canadian Juniors is an under-21 championship, with most participants far older than 13. The NWT, however, has a track record of fielding younger competitors at the event.
In the women's event, Gillis' NWT team – skipped by Tyanna Bain and coached by Nick Saturnino – finished with a 1-8 record, including a 6-5 victory against Kelsey Meger's Yukon.
The NWT men's rink, skipped by Sawer Kaeser and coached by Nick Kaeser, also finished 1-8 after a 17-2 blowout defeat of David Aglukark and Nunavut.
Nova Scotia and British Columbia were crowned this year's women's and men's champions respectively.