It is often a strange and sometimes cruel curling world.
Wildewood's Lisa Deriviere posted three straight victories in the junior women's section of the Junior Christmas Bonspiel, then watched as others determined whether the foursome would clinch the coveted provincial berth before throwing another rock today.
"We just have to hope for the best," Deriviere said after defeating Elmwood's Kristin Defer 12-4 at the Rossmere Curling Club yesterday morning.
Well, the curling gods finally smiled upon them. Both St. Vital's reigning provincial champion Calleen Neufeld and Kaileigh Strath of Souris won later in the day, leaving Deriviere the only team left in the main-event semifinals who had yet to win that elusive spot.
"It feels just amazing and it's definitely under different circumstances," Deriviere said shortly after watching Strath sink Ste. Anne's Alyssa Vandepoele 9-3 at the West St. Paul Curling Club. "I was sitting behind the glass wishing I was out there curling and I was calling my teammates to give them end-by-end updates. And when (Strath won), my lead (Ainsley O'Donovan) started screaming over the phone."
This journey to next week's Target Junior Women's Provincial Championship in Virden had not been easy. Deriviere, 19, took over the squad that Breanne Meakin had skipped into last year's provincials when Meakin accepted an offer to play lead for Neufeld. However, they were upset in a junior women's city zone final by Pembina's Lindsey Robertson. Meakin then returned to skip the team in the Canada Games Trials, losing the final to Virden's Katie Kruk.
"Those two losses have been hard to take," said third Kristyn Van Walleghem, 16. "But that just makes us strive to do better."
Deriviere had been to the provincials once before -- as a replacement for Carman's Sam Owen when a wedding prevented her from playing.
"My goal for this year was for us to make it as a team because it means a lot more when you earn it," Deriviere said. "And my dad (Brad) just got his (senior men's) provincial spot (with Lionel Walz) and we're battling to see who gets more crests."
The foursome started this spiel on the right foot as it avenged that loss to Robertson, then lucked out when Kruk dropped out of the spiel.
"That was a stroke of luck because she was in our (quadrant)," said Deriviere, a University of Manitoba business student.
Meanwhile, second Meghan Knutson, 15, O'Donovan, 16, and Van Welleghem have been playing for two different skips all season.
"Yeah, it's been busy but it's been good because it's still good to play with Breanne and we love to play with Lisa," Van Welleghem said.
On the junior men's side, Corey Chambers of Deer Lodge upset Fort Garry's Andrew Irving 9-8 in an extra end to advance to today's semifinals. Also advancing were Pembina's Jim Coleman, Riley Smith of Deer Lodge and the Kyle Flett team of Petersfield -- the only squad that has already clinched a provincial berth. Meanwhile, West Kildonan's reigning champion Travis Bale was trying to stay alive in a minor event last night.