Junior three-peat

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Local curling history has been repeated.

St. Vital's Calleen Neufeld became only the third to skip a squad to three straight Manitoba junior titles on the 30th anniversary of the last one. Neufeld defeated Pembina's Kaitlyn Lawes 7-3 in the final of the Target Junior Women's Provincial Championship in Virden last night.

"It feels pretty good, just excellent," an excited Neufeld said over the telephone after the historic victory. "The nerves are still going.

"I don't know if I can compare them. They were all intense, and this one went a little longer than the others. But we all had our draw weight, so that made it a little more comfortable."

Neufeld, 20, stole three in the fifth end to take a 4-1 lead but still had to make her last shot to secure her 'three-peat' in her last junior provincial appearance.

"It's exciting to win three straight," she said. "I don't really think of it when we go out on the ice, but once you win once, you want to win again."

Patti Vande (now Wuthrich) was the last to turn the trick (1975-77), with Chris Pidzarko (now Scalena) doing it the three previous seasons.

Supported by third Sabrina Neufeld (no relation) and second Laryssa Grenkow, both 18, and Breanne Meakin, 16, Neufeld will represent Manitoba at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men's and Women's Championships, to be played in St. Catharines, Ont., Feb. 3-11.

And she has some unfinished business, as Neufeld lost the national final last year.

"Yeah, we've got to clean it up out there," she said. "We're still going to work hard and work on our execution and stuff."

Meakin replaced Lindsay Eadie, who graduated, at lead, so this will be her first national appearance.

"She's so excited," Neufeld said. "She's just all smiles and laughter."

Meakin is the daughter of former world champion Rob Meakin, who served as the team's coach in Virden. Sabrina Neufeld is the daughter of well-regarded competitive curler Randy Neufeld, who has qualified for the Safeway Select, which conflicts with the national juniors.

Calleen Neufeld also felt for Lawes, whose father, Keith, is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumour.

"They're a really good team, and we're friends, so it hurts a little," she said. "But we want to win, too."

Neufeld nipped Lawes 7-6 in the Page playoff one-versus-one match in the morning. Lawes rebounded by bouncing Assiniboine Memorial's Michelle Montford 9-4 in the semifinal.


Videos

Photos