Lawes chasing Olympic dream

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

She could jump from junior right into the Olympic rings.

Winnipeg's Kaitlyn Lawes just won back-to-back Canadian junior curling crowns. Now, she has a rare chance to slide right into the Olympics in her first year of women's play -- as a member of an Alberta team.

"It would be a dream-come-true," Lawes said from Edmonton on Monday night. "That was one of the reasons I did this -- a chance to go to the Olympics."

Lawes, who skipped Manitoba teams to silver and bronze medals at the last two junior worlds, was recruited to play third for Alberta's Cathy King this season. The former Canadian champ has qualified for next month's pre-Olympic trials event in Prince George, B.C., where four women's teams will advance to the Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton come December.

King needed to replace third Lori Olson, who left the team, and approached several different curlers before finding a fit with Lawes at a couple of Grand Slam spiels last year.

"She worked out really well and throws a good rock," King said. "She's added life to our team and we're both on the right page."

King opened this season by winning her first cashspiel with Lawes now her full-time vice and is enthused with the possibilities of a foursome that also includes second Raylene Rocque and Tracy Bush.

"We're really excited," said King, who also won back-to-back Canadian junior titles before there was a world junior.

"I'm learning a new position and that's a new challenge," said Lawes, who had skipped through her entire junior career. "But these are great people to play with and it's interesting that three of us were born in Winnipeg."

Both King and Bush, who played lead for Manitoba's Cathy Overton-Clapham when she won the Canadian junior title in 1989, also hail from River City.

Lawes, who turns 21 next month, has moved to Edmonton where she lives in Bruce Saville's (King's partner) home and works part-time at the Saville Centre.

"She's really liking it here," said King, who maintains a home in St. Albert, where she lives with her son. "She's living in a mansion, who wouldn't?"

That mansion includes a swimming pool, an indoor-outdoor hot tub and a movie theatre.

"This is the first time I have been on my own and it is a chance for me to experience new things," said Lawes, who still takes some "distance courses" towards her nutritional science degree at the University of Manitoba. "And Edmonton is a gorgeous city."

Lawes and Rocque work out with a personal trainer at the Saville Centre gym when they are not practising, and King has dragged her out to Oilers and Eskimos games.

Because Lawes now lives there, she will be eligible to play in the Alberta provincials. However, because Lawes joined the team so late, she is the only one who can be replaced by team fifth/coach Marcie Balderston at the pre-trials, King said.

PRE-TRIALS: For those wondering, the pre-trial event has been set up like a triple-knockout cashspiel with the four qualifiers advancing to the trials in Edmonton. Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton is the No. 1 seed on the men's side.

BITERS: The Men with Brooms curling movie will soon become a TV comedy series produced in Winnipeg ... A new curling movie made in Turkey called SUPURRR! (Sweeppp!) will reportedly come out in December ... Reminder: Manitoba's Jennifer Jones will be one seven trials-bound skips appearing live on the Internet (seasonofchampions.ca) tonight at 6 p.m. ... Manitoba's Chris Sobkowicz has been replaced by Alberta's Bruno Yizek as an alternate for the Jim Armstrong wheelchair team that will represent Canada at the Paralympics in Vancouver.

HOUSECLEANING: Selkirk's Kerri Flett, who is now skipping Karen Porritt's former team, defeated Fort Rouge's Janet Harvey 5-3 in the final of the Manitoba Curling Tour's second event of its season in Selkirk late Monday.

Flett earned $4,500 while Harvey settled for $3,000.

In the men's final, Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn beat West Kildonan's Reid Carruthers 7-1 to win $4,500. Carruthers got $3,000.

The Manitoba Junior Curling Tour also opened at the Deer Lodge Curling Club on the weekend. Alex Forrest of the host club nipped Portage la Prairie's Steen Sigurdson 6-5 in the men's final. Ste. Anne's Alyssa Vandepoele downed Pembina's Shannon Birchard 7-4 to win the women's side. The earnings were not available.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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