King's stoked about stone

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE -- The last hole on Cathy King's Scott Tournament of Hearts necklace finally will be filled.

The Edmonton skip will get the fourth and final diamond on her national participant's pendant when she heads to St. John's, Nfld., Feb. 19-27.

No wonder King is so excited.

"I needed one diamond and finally I get it," she said yesterday, showing off the shimmery piece.

"One more diamond. Everyone keeps asking me if I lost one. Finally,

I can say it's filled. I'm excited for that."

And it comes at Shannon Kleibrink's expense.

The defending champion from Calgary made a couple of missteps in the Alberta final, losing 5-4 yesterday.

But Kleibrink said she's not upset about being a runner-up this year.

"Oh, been there lots of times," Kleibrink said, shrugging.

"No big deal. Somebody has to be, right?"

For rookie lead Christine Keshen, though, the defeat hung heavy on her shoulders.

"I hate losing," said the 26-year-old, who joined the team in the fall after Stephanie Marchand's departure. "I'll admit it. I hate to lose. It totally sucks but the fact we got this far is ... well, no, it's not enough. You always want to do better. The fact that we came this far is really great but it's the first year, really, for this team because of me.

"I know that next year, we're going to be a really, really tough team to beat."

Kleibrink, Keshen, third Amy Nixon and second Glenys Bakker were up 2-1 when they faltered.

A couple of misses -- even a rare wonky release by Kleibrink on her first shot -- and King picked up a deuce.

King said that gave her momentum.

"I felt it," she said.

The Calgary rink was forced into a game of catch-up and, in an attempt to blank the ninth to keep the hammer, Kleibrink didn't get the roll on her hit and was forced to take one for the tie.

Third Lori Armitstead put King in the right position for the win, throwing a nifty takeout to sit three. Kleibrink drew to the back 4-foot but King still held the shot well guarded.

Kleibrink threw for a hit and roll off her own rock on the outside 12 but she didn't get quite the roll she needed. King didn't have to throw her final stone for the victory.

"That was such a tense game," King said.

"When it comes down to last rock ... I was a little concerned in the eighth end when we didn't have things going our way but, as long as we get our one point on the even end, I'm happy. But we were one up coming home."

King built the team three years ago, reorganizing after her last trip to the national Scott.

She found Armitstead, second Raylene Rocque and lead Tracy Bush.

"These girls, they wanted to win so bad and they put in all the time that you need to," King said. "That's all I can ask for really."

The victory also brings King one step closer to securing her spot at the Tim Horton's Olympic trials in Halifax this December.

She jumps 15 points ahead of Calgary's Cheryl Bernard in the standings.

EXTRA ENDS: The field is nearly set for the 2005 Scott Tournament of Hearts following the completion of several provincial championships this weekend.

The field will be finalized following Saskatchewan's championship, which wraps up Sunday.

Provincial champions advance to the Canadian women's curling championship, which will be played Feb. 19-27 in St. John's, Nfld.

Colleen Jones of Halifax has an automatic berth into the national event as defending champion.

Others advancing include: Nova Scotia's Kay Zinck; Quebec's Brenda Nicholls; Ontario's Jenn Hanna; Manitoba's Jennifer Jones; B.C.'s Kelly Scott; Yellowknife's Kerry Koe (Yukon/ Northwest Territories; P.E.I's Rebecca Jean MacPhee; New Brunswick's Sandy Comeau; Heather Strong (Newfoundland and Labrador)


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