Taking that final shot

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Hooking up with the reigning junior women's Canadian champ will give Laryssa Grenkow a good crack at tying a unique provincial record.

Grenkow, who won three straight Manitoba titles at second for Calleen Neufeld, can tie the mark of four provincial championships now that she has helped Pembina's Kaitlyn Lawes earn a trip to this year's Target Junior Women's Provincial Playdowns through the city zone playdowns at the Pembina Curling Club last weekend.

Only Patti Wuthrich (nee Vande) has ever won four and she turned the trick in four straight seasons (1974-77), then won three consecutive women's crowns -- a record that will never be broken.

"For my last year of juniors, that would be exciting but, most of all, I just want a chance to get back to nationals again and go for the gold there," said Grenkow, who fell short in all three trips to the nationals with Neufeld.

"(Winning the Canadian crown) would mean a shot at the worlds and I've never been there before. That would definitely be an amazing experience and something I would love to have going into the ladies."

But Grenkow will have some competition vying to tie that record as her former third, Sabrina Neufeld, skipped a La Salle squad into the junior provincials through a rural zone. Like Grenkow, Sabrina won three straight with Calleen.

Grenkow and lead Breanne Meakin replaced Liz Peters and Sarah Wazney, respectively, for Lawes as both graduated from the junior ranks.

"We meshed right away," said Meakin, who played lead for Calleen Neufeld in just the last of her three consecutive crowns. "We all get along good and it feels good."

Both Lawes and Neufeld compare favourably as skips.

"They're very similar but different in good ways," said Meakin, 18. "They both call aggressive games."

"They both know the strength of their players and that's a huge asset," added Grenkow.

Lawes has already enjoyed success on both the women's cashspiel circuit and at the junior level with her new recruits.

"It's been a learning experience," said Lawes, who still has Jenna Loder at third. "We had played against each other for so long and now that we're playing together, it's been great. Everyone has a lot to offer and everyone's been fantastic at their positions. The whole year's been great so far."

Lawes also won a bronze medal at the world championship and would love to go back.

"It would mean the world to me," she said. "That's something we're all striving towards and something we all have high hopes and high goals set for ourselves. For three of us, it's our last year in juniors so we want to go out with a bang."

The world juniors will be held at the Olympic curling venue in Vancouver, B.C.

"For our last year of juniors, I'd love to go back and bring home the gold," Loder said. "But we've got to get there first."

BITERS: There will actually be three Grenkows on the ice during the junior provincials. Laryssa's sister, Meagan, qualified at lead for Pembina's Shannon Birchard while her brother, Trevor, plays lead for Deer Lodge's Alex Forrest ... Barb Spencer and Darcy Robertson were not the only members of their family to unite on the ice this year. Fort Rouge's Lindsay Robertson just earned a junior provincial berth with Katie Spencer at third and Holly Spencer at second.


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