Cup champ hoping for a happy return

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Brantford's Jo-Ann Rizzo has a special place in her heart for the Rideau Curling Club.

When she took to the ice for her first game of the Ontario Scott yesterday at the Rideau, she needed to look just one sheet over to see the spot of the biggest victory of her competitive career.

It was only 37 days ago that she and teammates Cheryl McPherson, Kim Tuck and Sara Gatchell beat Sherry Middaugh in the final of the ultra-competitive Canada Cup East cashspiel, a victory that earned the team $12,000.

"It's nice to go back somewhere where you do feel comfortable," said Rizzo, who is representing the Brant Curling Club and opened the tournament with an 8-5 win over Tara George of Thunder Bay.

The Canada Cup East win also secured Rizzo's squad a coveted spot in the Canadian Olympic trials in December in Halifax.

"It's the ultimate," Rizzo said of the trials. "It was one of our two goals. The other was to make it to the Canadians. The order that they happen isn't important.

"We're still excited, but we're trying to re-focus," she said. "Every time somebody mentions it here and congratulates us, we've still got smiles from ear to ear, but we have to bear down and realize this is another goal and make sure we're focused on that."

Rizzo earned her team's spot in this week's tournament with a B-side win two weeks ago in the West regionals at Norwich.

'DIDN'T FLUKE IN'

"I want to make sure that people realize that we deserved the (Canada Cup) win and that we just didn't fluke in and get the trials spot and that we deserve to be here," she said. "We had some terrific games and some terrific shots were made."

Rizzo isn't the only member of her household trying for an Ontario championship.

Her husband Nick led his team to a regional win and will compete at the Kia Cup provincials beginning Feb. 7 in Whitby.

"There's a lot happening in our house," she said.


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