Meek takes shot at giants

TODD SAELHOF -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

The task ahead is daunting, even for full-time curlers at the top of their game.

Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey, Kevin Koe ... they are the definitive co-favourites heading into the 2008 Boston Pizza Cup -- a.k.a. the Alberta men's championship -- and the three reasons why the other nine finalists have a hard time seeing themselves capturing the provincial title.

Cue Terry Meek, a semi-retired Calgary curler who pooh-poohs the idea the giants of Alberta curling can't be conquered at the provincial event beginning today in Spruce Grove.

"The top guys are going to be there, and we're still certainly big underdogs," said Meek, calling Martin, Ferbey and Koe three of the best four rinks the nation has to offer.

"But it's just curling -- the rocks don't know who's throwing them, and we'll be out there trying to make the best shot."

Certainly, Meek knows how to give it his all.

He heads to provincials as the South's top seed after beating the field at last month's southerns in Coaldale. Meek and his Calgary Curling Club rink --third Dean Mamer, second Jason Stannard and lead Ryan Keirstead -- went undefeated to claim the 'A' title.

North Hill Curling Club's Darren Moulding and the Calgary Curling Club's Steve Petryk followed suit with respective 'B' and 'C' title takes to clinch the two other provincial berths from the South.

At four previous provincials, Meek has also proven his ability. He lost the 'A' final at the 1987 Alberta tankard to eventual-champion Pat Ryan, lost in the '94 semifinal while playing under skip Mickey Pendergast, lost in the quarter-finals to Ferbey and Ken Hunka in '99, and a tiebreaker to Dan Petryk and John Morris in 2005.

"I've always ended up in the thick of it," said Meek. "It's not in my nature to give up."

The 45-year-old skip also has confidence around him, as both Mamer and Stannard boast provincial experience under fellow Calgarian Adrian Bakker.

"Our team has a nice mix," said Meek, praising the energy and sweeping power Keirstead brings to his rink.

"We have the strength to come back in games -- to use the steal. We're like Ferbey that way.

"And we're not going up there for fun -- we're going up there to take care of business."

Still, they will be playing David to curling's Goliaths in a bid to become Alberta kings and claim a spot in the 2008 Tim Horton's Brier in Winnipeg, March 8-16.

"I still have an edge on Martin career-wise, but probably because I haven't played him in the last 10 years," said Meek laughingly. "And I've won a couple against Ferbey and (Dave) Nedohin.

"But I think Koe's the team to beat this year.

"We'll see if one of us from the South can break through."

EXTRA ENDS

The South has determined its two boys' and two girls' teams for the 2008 Alberta Juvenile Curling Championships in Olds, March 7-10.

The Southerns in Hanna during the weekend crowned two Calgary rinks as juvenile champions. Among boys, Carter Lauter of the Calgary Winter Club beat Sundre's Craig Bourgonje 7-6 in Saturday's 'A' final. But Bourgonje rebounded Sunday to claim the 'B' title and a spot at provincials by defeating Red Deer's Joel Peterman 5-4.

Among juvenile girls, Nadine Chyz of the North Hill Curling Club topped Crossfield's Melissa Samson 11-3 in Saturday's 'A' final. The 'B' title and final provincial berth was claimed by Red Deer's Jocelyn Peterman after she beat North Hill's Kayla Ramstad 7-4 Sunday.

LAST ROCK

Maria Bushell's assault on a national title stopped short in an 8-7 extra-end loss to Saskatchewan's Steph McVicar at the 2008 M&M Meat Shops Junior Nationals in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. With Bushell of Milo watching on, Manitoba's Kaitlyn Lawes won the Canadian crown with a 7-6 win over McVicar.

On the men's side, Quebec's William Dion captured the Canadian junior title with an 8-6 victory over Ontario's Travis Fanset. Lawes and Dion will represent Canada at the world junior championship in Sweden, beginning March 1.


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