Meakin shows grit, earns berth

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:52 PM ET

Breanne Meakin overcame a house full of Payne yesterday.

Meakin, the daughter of famed Winnipeg curler Rob Meakin, had a roller-coaster of a day at the MCA's Junior Christmas Bonspiel, but it ended with one heck of a rush.

At the tender age of 15, she's off to the provincial junior women's curling championship for the first time.

Meakin, playing at her home club of Wildewood, downed Brandon's Jen Kienas 9-5 in a special A-side playoff last night to secure the second-last spot in the provincial championship, which starts Wednesday at St. Vital Curling Club.

"It feels really good," Meakin said. "The team played well, and I'm really proud of what we've done."

Meakin, who is supported by Kristyn VanWalleghem, 15, Aynsley O'Donovan, 15, and Meghan Knutson, 14, could not be more relieved that she won't be playing today after a devastating 11-9 loss to Lorette's Jackelynn Payne in an A-side semifinal yesterday afternoon.

Meakin had a 6-2 lead after six ends, but Payne executed a raise takeout with her final stone to score five in the seventh. Meakin rebounded with three in the eighth, but Payne stormed right back with three of her own in the ninth and then stole one in the 10th to cap off the stunning comeback.

Payne, 16, couldn't think of a wilder game in her short curling career. She qualified for provincials earlier this month, so she felt her team was a little more relaxed than Meakin's.

"We didn't have as much pressure on us, so we went out there and played our game," Payne said.

Tough setback

Meakin said her dad, who used to play for Kerry Burtnyk's world-class squad, helped her and her team get past the tough setback.

"He taught us how to forget about what happened," Breanne said. "And we had some good games early on, and that really helped our confidence."

Kienas fell 7-3 to Petersfield's Kerri Flett in the other A-side semifinal. That forced last night's special playoff against Meakin, because Flett had also already qualified for provincials.

Kienas and Co. didn't record the win last night, but they got a passing grade for guts.

A flu bug has affected every member of the team except for Kienas this week, and last night second Jenna Phillips was hurting the most.

Phillips, who also missed a game Wednesday, sat behind the hack from the second end on and only got up to throw her rocks.

"It's a long day if you're not feeling good," Kienas, a 20-year-old Shoal Lake native, said through tears. "I'm proud of my team, but they felt like crap the whole time."

Despite yesterday's two losses, Kienas still has a chance to secure the 16th and final provincials berth today. She will compete against five other teams in the playoff that traditionally concludes the event.

Six junior men's teams still in search of a provincials spot will also have a playoff today.

CHAMPIONS CROWNED: Heather's Adam Norget won the junior men's main event last night with a 4-3 victory over Deer Lodge's Corey Chambers.

West Kildonan's Travis Hoare and Rossmere's Travis Gesell won the B-side and C-side titles, respectively.

Flett beat Payne 5-2 to win the junior women's main event, while Victoria's Laura Wilkinson (B side) and Granite's Heather Pierson (C side) were also victorious.


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