STEINBACH -- It has become an annual affair.
Every year, some youngblood serves notice that he could become 'The Next Jeff' at the Safeway Select.
One year it is David Kraichy. Another, Ryan Fry. This go-round, it is Valour Road's Reid Carruthers.
The former junior provincial curling champ sank Selkirk's Wayne Ewasko 8-4 at the T.G. Smith Centre yesterday to advance to today's A qualifier against Rosser's Chris Galbraith.
"They're a very good, young team," said Charleswood's top-seeded Jeff Stoughton, who also advanced to an A qualifier versus La Salle's Randy Neufeld. "They've done very well on the cashspiel circuit and that's what it takes. It's good to see some good, young teams that want to play and compete."
Carruthers, 21, said the key is that his team has yet to miss a hit.
"We're pretty good curlers, we're playing well and we're playing with confidence," he said. "Having two chances (to qualify for the championship round) is always a very good bonus. But there's been many teams that have lost their next two after coming to the stage where we are so hopefully, we can win our first game."
Sounds like a young man who has been tutored by sports psychologist Cal Botterill, who just happens to be one of his professors at the University of Winnipeg. He has also discussed such subjects with sports psychologist Tom Patrick, another U of W prof who accompanied Stoughton to the Olympic trials.
"I took sports psychology and obviously, that will help a little bit with keeping the nerves calm and knowing what to expect under pressure, and help prepare for events like this," Carruthers said.
Meanwhile, Morden's unheralded Ian Beavis upset Valour Road's second-seeded Dave Boehmer 7-6 in an extra end.
"We know they're a good team and we have to be on our game to beat them," said Beavis, who will play Brandon's Allan Lyburn in another A qualifier today. "And we played good enough to beat them, I guess."
Boehmer stayed alive by clipping Warren's Bryan Preston 8-5 last night.
"We're going to try our darndest now to try to come through the B side," he said. "We all know, once you qualify, you get both legs back and it's a whole different game again."
Galbraith had nipped Brandon's Terry McNamee 6-5; Lyburn defeated Valour Road's Mike McEwen 8-5; and Neufeld upset Elmwood's Pete Nicholls 5-4.
In other games of note, Vic Peters skipped Valour Road's Dave Smith into an A qualifier versus Neepawa's Kelly Robertson by clipping clubmate Randy Dutiaume, the defending champ, 8-7. Robertson upset Virden's fifth-seeded Graham Freeman 7-5 and St. Vital's Doug Riach eliminated Valour Road's Mark Lukowich 8-2.
Lac du Bonnet's Barry Fry was also eliminated 7-6 by Petersfield's Peter Pruden when he ran out of time before throwing his last rock -- a first for the Manitoba men's championship.