Curling control handed to mate

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

Atina Johnston's having fun not calling the shots this week. She's enjoying the role of third for Aaron Bartling during the Investors Group Alberta Mixed Curling Championship at Calgary Winter Club.

Johnston, usually a skip for third Heather Nedohin, second Lawnie MacDonald and lead Rona Pasika, lost to fellow Edmontonian Deb Santos in the semifinal of the Scott Tournament of Hearts provincial at North Hill club in February.

But she's back for another kick at the provincial can.

This time, she's with Bartling, her husband, second Wade Johnston and lead Tiffany McKeeman as the North Zone's A qualifier.

"It's funny," Johnston said yesterday. "I play women's all year long so we have lots of systems in place, lots of routines. The guys, they have their own routines but they seem to do things on a whim. We girls like to be more organized."

The organization didn't do them any favours in yesterday's morning draw, though. The Bartling foursome took its first hit of the round-robin, losing 9-6 to North Hill's Dean Ross in an extra end.

There were more misses than hits on ice that proved difficult to judge.

Tied 3-3 after five ends, Ross' crew of third Nikki Smith, second Craig Simms and lead Cori Bartel was having trouble getting around guards but survived to get a deuce and the lead.

Coming home with the lead and the hammer, Ross was heavy on his final draw to the 4-ft. and gave up the tying point.

Bartling was set up to steal the winning point in the extra end, sitting shot rock on the button but Ross made a perfect hit for three.

Bartling recovered from the loss to beat Dawson Creek's Jeff Ginter 11-7 in nine ends.

Four rinks share the top spot with 3-1 records. Ross beat Spruce Grove's Les Steuber 4-3 in the afternoon draw to join Bartling in first, along with Lloydminster's Doug Zingel, who dumped Calgary's Ryan Keirstead 9-2 in five ends and La Glace's Ralph Brust, who schooled Calgary's Chris Schille 8-0 in four.

Brust recorded his first loss of the week in the morning draw, dropping an 8-5 decision to Zingel, while Keirstead beat Ginter 8-3 for his first victory. Schille lost 7-1 to Steuber.

Today's draws are at noon and 7 p.m.


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