Family time for Santos

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

If there's a tough way to get the job done, Deb Santos knows about every one of them. So after she earned yet another well-deserved trip to the Alberta Scott Tournament of Hearts yesterday, she'll get a rare chance to spend some time with her family.

Santos beat Cindy Serna 5-2 in the A qualifier of the women's northern playdowns at the Ellerslie Curling Club to qualify for the provincials in Lethbridge (Jan. 26-30).

But first, she's got to take care of a bit of business.

"I'm going to take down the Christmas tree a little bit earlier this year,'' said Santos. "I would have left it up if we'd been playing through the weekend because I have to be back at work Monday morning.

"Now, with (Sunday) off, I can spend some time with my son (Tyler, 10). I can go watch his (Atom AA) hockey game and watch him try out his new set of goal pads.''

WON THE TITLE IN '03

Santos, a four-time Alberta champion, last won the title in 2003.

This year's route proved to be much easier than 2004, when she struggled with the weight and lost her first two games, then rattled off five straight wins to capture the C event on Sunday night.

She took that hot streak into the Scotts, losing the final game to Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink.

To earn time off this weekend, Santos had to mow her way through some tough opposition - taking out highly rated Atina Johnston and Cathy King out of the gate.

Even though she's a perennial contender at the provincial level, this one was special just because of the strength of her opposition.

"We didn't have an easy go of it,'' said Santos. "We had to play Cathy and Heather (Johnston's last rock Nedohin). It's nice to put a weekend together like this.''

OPENING BANQUET

Santos was working at the Superstore pharmacy in Sherwood Park on Thursday night, so she had to miss the opening banquet.

The phone rang. It was coach Darryl Horne, who wanted to let Santos know how the luck of the draw went. Santos credits that call with helping her get into the right mindset.

"He said 'You know, this is the scoop.' You play Heather and if we win that, we play Cathy,'' said Santos. "I said 'OK, I'm ready.' It gave me a bit of time to prepare. It was nice the way that you could prepare yourself mentally for that.''

Santos was ready.

And as a result, she'll be trying to win her second championship in three years with her supporting cast of Jackie-Rae Greening, second Brenda Boehmer and lead Kate Horne.

EXTRA ENDS: Diane Foster won the A event of the women's southerns last night in Airdrie.


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