Late gifts for juniors

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

One man's loss ended up being another man's gain. And because of that, Travis Hoare is off to the provincial junior men's curling championship next weekend in Brandon.

Hoare's West Kildonan rink hammered East St. Paul's Travis Bale 8-2 yesterday afternoon in the final provincial qualifier -- a six-team playoff that concluded the Junior Christmas Bonspiel at Winnipeg's Thistle Curling Club.

"We struggled a bit early in the week, but then we just got on a roll," said Hoare, 18. "We feel like we're stepping into our own and that we're close to doing something great."

Hoare's biggest win of the day, however, probably occurred in the semifinal round, when he prevented 2003 provincial junior men's champ Reid Carruthers, of the Pembina club, from even qualifying for next weekend's championship. Hoare took out Carruthers with a 9-5 victory.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that this was Carruthers' last year in the junior ranks.

Meanwhile, in the six-team junior women's playoff yesterday, Victoria's Chelsea Carey secured the final berth in next weekend's junior women's championship with an 8-5 win over clubmate Ashlee Maryk.

It wasn't supposed to take this long for Carey, 20, to earn her berth in next weekend's 16-rink field, considering she was a semifinalist at last year's championship in Swan River.

SUCH A RELIEF

"It's such a relief, you don't even know," Carey said last night. "This is the second time I've gotten in (through the six-team playoff) and the third time through the Christmas bonspiel.

"It seems like every time I go through it gets more stressful, but we're all so excited about it."

Carey curls with third Kristin Loder, second Liz Peters and lead Mary-Jane McKenzie."

Hoare, who is supported by third Tim Armour, 18, second Jason Gray, 17, and lead Jeff Herold, 17, stole three midway through the game against Carruthers and cruised from there.

"The boys curled fantastic," said Randy Klassen, who coaches the Hoare squad. "Our boys just gave him everything he could handle."

Hoare said his team wasn't intimidated facing a former provincial champ.

"We played them in the berth bonspiel and played them pretty good," Hoare said. "We just went in there with a cool attitude."

Hoare began the day with 6-3 win over Springfield's Steven Cook. Bale, meanwhile, beat Eriksdale's James Wainwright 8-5 in a quarter-final and Springfield's Curtis Joyal 7-6 in the other semifinal.

Carey beat Morden's Kristen Foster 7-4 in one semifinal, while Maryk took out Pembina's Katie Jenson 9-4 in the other semi.

Both the junior men's and junior women's championships will be held at the Brandon Curling Club next Thursday to Monday.


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