Ha wins Korean Curling Championships women's title

For the first time since 2018, the Chuncheon City Hall curling team (Photo: Korean Curling Federation) have won the Korean Curling Championships.

By: Cameron Sallaj

Entering the 2022 Korean Curling Championships, the revised Chuncheon City Hall lineup was the third seeded team behind the likes of Kim Eun-jung and Gim Eun-ji. With their skip Kim Min-ji transferring to Gim's Gyeonggi Province team, the team's third Ha Seung-youn had to step up to fill the skip position for the national championship, and did she ever.

After suffering a loss to Team Kim in their second game, the Ha rink, including third Kim Hye-rin, second Yang Tae-i, and lead Kim Su-jin rattled off four straight victories to finish the round robin with a 5-1 record, including a victory over their former skip in their last game. This set them up for a semifinal rematch against the Kim rink who were the two-time reigning national champions.

Throughout the semifinal, Chuncheon City Hall kept a close contest with Gangneung City Hall, leveling the score at three-all after seven ends. That is when Team Ha were able to take control, stealing three in the eighth end another single in the ninth to secure the 7-5 victory and eliminate Team Kim from the event. In the final, they would once again face former skip Kim Min-ji and the newly formed Gyeonggi Province rink.

By virtue of their victory in the round robin, the Ha rink began the national final with the hammer. They immediately put their last stone advantage to good use, scoring two in the opening end.

After blanks in the second and third ends, Team Gim would level the score at two all with a deuce in the fourth end. Facing one, Gim Eun-ji made an open hit-and-stick to count the two points and level the match.

It would then be Ha's turn to blank two consecutive ends, with no score in ends five and six. In the seventh, Team Gim went all in to try to get the steal, and it paid off. Ha attempted an angle runback to score as many as four on her final stone, but her rock overcurled and didn't catch the shot stone. Gyeonggi Province led 3-2 heading to the eighth.

Chuncheon City Hall would regain control in the very next end, however. Already lying one, Ha Seung-youn drew her final stone onto the button to count two and take the 4-3 edge.

In the ninth end, already sitting shot stone, Team Gim attempted a difficult runback to try to score a potential three points. Gim Eun-ji's final stone did not curl enough, however, leading to a single point for the Gyeonggi Province team. After nine, the teams sat level at four all with Chuncheon City Hall holding the hammer in the final end.

A strong setup by Chuncheon in the tenth end meant they sat three on Gim Eun-ji's last rock. She attempted to draw around the middle into the four-foot, but her stone pulled up light, meaning Team Ha did not have to throw their final stone. Chuncheon City Hall took three from the end and secured the national title in a 7-4 final.

Chuncheon City Hall last won the national title under Kim Min-ji's name in 2018. During their time as national champions, the team won a gold medal at the 2018 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and a bronze medal at the 2019 World Women's Curling Championship in Silkeborg, Denmark. The 2018 national title came when the team was still of junior age. Now that they have graduated from the junior ranks, the team will attempt to improve on their performances from the 2018-19 season.

Ha Seung-youn, Kim Hye-rin, Yang Tae-i, and Kim Su-jin will represent Korea at the 2022 Pan-Continental Curling Championships. If they finish within the top five, they will qualify for the 2023 World Championships.

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