Park in high gear

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

STE. ANNE -- Flushed with a fat paycheque and a berth into a bigger cashspiel, Brandon's Liza Park can be forgiven for being just a touch greedy.

Park clipped Ainsley Champagne 5-3 in the women's final of the Labatt Manitoba Curling Tour Championships at a packed Ste. Anne Curling Club yesterday to earn $4,000 and a spot into next year's Canada Cup West Bonspiel in Edmonton. But she sure wishes the women's MCT winner would also get a trip to the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts.

"They should look into having a spot for the Scott," Park said. "I think they would get a better representative at the Scott out of this championship."

MCT president Andy Stewart concurs.

"That's probably the next step in the progress," he said. "We get 12 pretty competitive teams here so, that winner would be a better team than what you get in some of the zones, especially when some zones were won by acclimation."

Stewart figures the Manitoba Curling Association could move one rural and one city zone to the MCT championship and the MCA women's bonspiel

'PRETTY NERVOUS'

Park made a takeout with her first shot to finish off Champagne.

"I was pretty nervous throwing that last rock because I've never made one that was worth so much money," said Park, who defeated Fort Rouge's defending champion Barb Spencer 8-5 in the semifinal. "It's pretty awesome."

Champagne, who had beaten Stonewall's Patti Burtnyk 7-4 in the other semifinal and already has a Scott spot, took the loss in stride.

"It's a little disappointing," said Champagne, who pocketed $2,000. "But we played well all weekend and it's a confidence-booster because it shows we can play with the best teams."

Park, 24, still has Jamie Coxworth, 25, at third but has added Rhonda Ritchie (nee Fowler), 32, at second and Heather Mowat, 28. Ritchie, who won the 1993 provincial title at lead for Brandon's Maureen Bonar, recently returned from Germany where her husband was playing pro hockey. Mowat moved from Winnipeg to Brandon where she is now a police woman.

But the new foursome is still seeking a Scott berth this year.

"This should give us great confidence and hopefully, we'll be on a roll for next week in the bonspiel because we don't have a spot yet," she said. "We're pumped. We've won $6,000 now and I've never won this much money."

Park is also pumped about playing in the Canada Cup qualifier come December.

"That's awesome," she said. "I've never been out of province to play so, we're excited about that."


Videos

Photos