No walk in the Park

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

Even the tears felt different this time around.

Kalynn Park finally got the big win she had dreamt of for as long as she can remember.

Three times, tears of disappointment were shed as the Edmonton skip lost an Alberta junior final.

Yesterday, it was fourth time lucky.

TEARS OF JOY

And, as she stepped off the ice to hug her large family support group, she finally knew what it was like to taste tears of joy.

"Everybody's crying,'' said Park. "I think that's why I'm crying. I've worked so hard and it's finally happened. It doesn't seem like it's happened at all.''

Park, 18, beat Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge 5-3 to earn the first trip to the Canadians for second Jessie Kaufman and lead Joanne Taylor. Third Carey-Ann Sallows is the most experienced member of the crew, having appeared at the Canadians in 2003 and 2005, both at Park's expense.

"This is the best thing that's ever happened to me," said Park, moments after going through a long reception line of well-wishers. "It doesn't feel real. We've done it now.''

Park bounced back into the final after a two-loss Friday that included a loss to Scheidegger.

After battling through the morning semi, Park finally cracked open a 1-1 game when Scheidegger's last rock sailed through the house in the sixth, giving Park a steal of three.

"The steal of three was huge," said Park. "We just had to keep the pressure on and we did a real good job of that.''

Even though the scrappy Lethbridge skip got a pair back in the next end, Park hung on for her emotional win.

"We just played amazing,'' said Park.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more.''

In retrospect, Park said she was glad she had to battle through the morning semi because she had to find a way to overcome Scheidegger's last-rock advantage in the afternoon final.

"I've had the bye to the final before, but you end up just sitting around,'' said Park.

"This way, playing two games in one day, at least you can stay sharp.''

Odds are that if somebody goes to enough finals, they're going to win sooner or later. Park said earlier last week that everything happened for a reason, but taking a fourth finals loss may have been a bitter pill to swallow.

"It would have been terrible,'' said Park. "Fortunately, you learn to fight for the win.''

LEAN ON THEM

Park may have to lean on her dad Kevin and Sallows a bit for some advice on how the atmosphere changes at a national championship.

"It'll be a whole new thing,'' Park said.

And, there's sure to be tears of some sort at the end.


Videos

Photos