Haliburton curling protégé Jacob Dobson added a major win to his resume this past weekend, joining an elite group of athletes to have won back-to-back national college championships.

Leading his Humber Hawks as skip, Dobson claimed his second successive gold medal at the 2024 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Curling Canada College Championships, in Fredericton, NB March 12 to 16.

The Humber side went 8-1 at the tournament, defeating provincial rival Mohawk College in a tightly-contested championship game.

“It’s such an exciting feeling being a national champion for a second time – everyone has worked so hard this season. We did a really good job during the week of not thinking about this as us going for the repeat. We just took things one game at a time,” Dobson said.

The win is the culmination of months of hard work, which started last August with a trip to Scotland.

After winning the 2023 national championship, the Humber squad qualified for a place in the European Super Series – a recognized professional World Curling Tour event. Dobson rubbed shoulders with seasoned pros there, having the opportunity to test himself against some of the world’s top curling talents.

The team turned heads at the tournament, with their performance enough to see them break into the top 100 in world rankings, placing as high as 97th. That gave them confidence heading into the college season, which culminated with a silver medal at the provincial championships, in Sault Ste. Marie in February.

Humber lost to Mohawk at provincials, with Dobson saying he and his teammates were determined not to let history repeat itself in Fredericton.

The team enjoyed a perfect start to the tournament, recording wins over Sault College, Concordia, NAIT, SAIT and Red Deer Polytechnic from Alberta, and Assiniboine Community College from Manitoba. Their one blemish was an 8-4 loss to Mohawk in their fifth game.

Qualifying for the championship bracket in second place, behind Mohawk, Humber enjoyed a comfortable semi-final match-up with SAIT, running away with a 10-5 win. That set up another meeting with Mohawk in the final.

There was a familiar face for Dobson across the ice – Haliburton’s Liam Little was a member of the Mohawk squad. The two played together at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, earning a provincial title in 2020. Dobson said he and Little chatted throughout the week, with the pair hoping to battle it out for gold.

The final was a closely contested affair, with Humber eking out a 7-6 win.

“It all came down to the last shot – we had to make a double and stick for the win,” Dobson said.

“Towards the end, they called a timeout, and our coach came out and basically said it’s going to come right down to the end. At that point I just stepped away from the guys… I tried to calm myself down and get in the zone – you know what’s on the line. You try not to think about it, but you know,” he added.

The rest, Dobson said, is a bit of a blur. He remembers the last shot sticking and his teammates racing towards him in celebration. And then hoisting that familiar trophy high in the air.

The win ensures Dobson and his Humber teammates will be back at the 2024 Pointsbet Invitational – one of Curling Canada’s premiere events that pits the top ranked teams in the country against winners from the college, university, junior and professional circuits. The tournament will be held in Calgary Sept. 24 to 29 and will be aired nationally on TSN.

Dobson said he’ll likely be facing Brad Gushue – a six-time national champion at the Brier – in the first round.

Looking ahead, the 20-year-old said he’ll be back for his fourth season at Humber in the fall and still harbours hopes of turning pro.

“I’m just trying to take things year by year – it’s always something in the back of my mind, just seeing how far the game will take me. I got to play on the pro circuit a bit this season, so now I’ve had the taste I’m hungry for more,” Dobson said.