Fry gains playoff spot

JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

Winning last year's Manitoba Curling Tour men's title changed the course of his life dramatically. St. Vital's Ryan Fry had been preparing to head overseas to teach English. But, before leaving, Fry reunited with his old team for the championship and it rekindled some magic on the ice. And the foursome emerged victorious, which meant that it had earned a spot in the 2005 Safeway Select. So, Fry then changed his plans, stuck around and landed a sales job with Canadian Golf Car, which sells golf carts.

And it looks like that pebble magic is starting to come back. Fry battered Petersfield's Dave Boehmer 9-3 at the Ste. Anne Curling Club yesterday to qualify for the playoff round of this year's Labatt MCT Championships.

"We're off to trying to defend our title and get ready for the provincials," Fry said from Ste. Anne.

And beating Boehmer, one of the top Grand Slam squads in the country, should help the team's confidence.

"We view ourselves as being able to compete with these guys and beat them at least some of the time," said Fry, 26.

RETURNED TO SKIPPING

Supported by third Kyle Werenich, second Jason Smith and Cory Naharnie, Fry returned to skipping after playing third for Vic Peters most of last season.

"It's good to get back into it," said Fry, a two-time junior men's provincial champ. "It's been a pretty easy transition."

Fry, however, described his season to date as "mediocre," which is why he passed on going to the inaugural Canada Cup West Bonspiel.

"With the price involved, it wasn't worth our time and we weren't curling well enough to go into it at the time," explained Fry, who is now guaranteed $1,500.

Also qualifying through A were Ste. Anne's Renaud Gagne and James Kirkness of Fort Rouge. Three more qualifiers were being determined last night.

On the women's side, Fort Rouge's defending champion Barb Spencer nipped St. Vital's Karen Porritt 8-7 to qualify through A. Stonewall's Patti Burtnyk also beat Ainsley Champagne of Fort Rouge 8-6 to qualify. Two more qualifiers were being determined last night.

The women's final will be played in Ste. Anne today at 1:30 p.m. and shown on Shaw Cable (tape delay) at 7 p.m. The winner will pocket $4,000 and earn a berth into the next Canada Cup West. The men's final goes at 5 p.m. and will be aired on Shaw tomorrow at 7 p.m. The champion will earn $7,000, a berth into the same spiel and a spot in a Select spot playoff against next year's winner.


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