Park has the drive to win

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

What's a girl gotta do?

No question, Kalynn Park has paid her dues.

Raised in a curling-mad family with high expectations, Park has suffered enough heartbreak to know how cruel the game can be.

At 18 and with two years of junior eligibility left, Park already an impressive playdowns resume.

About the only thing missing is a trip to the winner's circle:

- Six appearances at the Alberta junior championship.

- Three times in the final game, the last two years as a skip.

- Three finals losses.

Park has paid her dues. Now, she's due.

And, as the 2007 Alberta junior men's and womens' championships get underway at the Granite Club this afternoon, she's on a mission.

And maybe, just maybe, all that experience will finally pay off.

"Everything happens for a reason,'' said Park, whose dad Kevin won a Brier title in 1991 throwing third rocks for Kevin Martin.

"I think all that's happened to me in the past has made me stronger. This year, I really want it.

"I want to know the feeling of a big win."

The addition of third Carey-Anne Sallows and coach Heather Moore could complete the puzzle.

Sallows is a two-time Alberta champ (2003, 2005) from Grande Prairie whose titles came at Park's expense. She was part of the 2005 Alberta championship team skipped by Desiree Robertson that went on to lose the final game at the Canadian junior.

"I knew if we got together, we'd have a good chance to win Alberta again," said Sallows, 20, in her last year of junior eligibility. Just like that 2005 weekend at the Thistle, Park will have plenty of support from her family.

"It's awesome just because our family is big into curling," said Park.

"I've definitely grown up around curling."

Even though their expectations are high and things can get a bit rough when the situation looks bleak, Park seems to thrive under the pressure of the family microscope.

"They build expectations ... of course," said Park. "It's something you learn to live up to, otherwise you'd have no expectations on yourself."

The team even won some money on the cashpiel trail this year, qualifying in the Dawson Creek men's event in the Halloween weekend. They lost the quarterfinal to Kurt Balderston.

"It was a close one," Park said with a chuckle.

After so many close calls, over-confidence should not be an issue.

"We can't think like that at all," said Park. "I haven't won a provincial before. We definitely aren't going to let our guards down."

The team is still undefeated on this year's playdowns trail and chances are good they'll be playing in Sunday's 2 p.m. final.

"It's almost like we have a target on our backs," said Park. "We have a lot of expectations on us, but we still have to live up to it."

After being close so many times, there's plenty of monkeys Park can get off her back with a win.


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