Homan targets 'spiel history

STEVE GREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

No team has won three straight Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel titles, but Rachel Homan's rink is looking good for being the first.

The Ottawa skip is on quite the roll.

Not only does she have one of the 12 teams with a shot at being Canada's Olympic women's rep in Vancouver next year, she's won two of her first four events this season.

"We're playing pretty well," she said of her team of Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lynn Kreviazuk (all but Alison are still eligible for juniors, so Laura Crocker is the second on the junior version of the team). "We've had some tough games so far, some really good games, and we're using that to build on. London's always a good spiel with a lot of good teams. It's always good to gain experience and if there's something we need to work on, it'll usually come out in a spiel.

"It's a little bit of a different focus this year (with the Olympic pre-trials slated for Nov. 10-15 in Prince George, B.C.), but it's another year, another crack at winning it, but you never know."

Homan will have her work cut out for her as she's facing arguably the toughest field in the event's 13-year history, with the 24 teams in the $32,000 triple-knockout event vying for the winner's cheque for $8,000.

Among other notable entries:

- 2009 world champion and last year's cashspiel runner-up Bingyu Wang of China;

- Four-time Ontario champion and fellow Olympic pre-trials entrant Sherry Middaugh of Victoria Harbour;

- Three-time and defending Ontario champion Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, another Olympic pre-trials competitor;

- Swiss Olympic skip and 2009 world bronze medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland;

- Four-time Canadian senior champion, two-time world senior champion and 2003 Ontario women's champ Anne Dunn of Cambridge;

- 1990 Canadian champion and three-time Ontario champ Alison Goring of Thornhill;

- Two-time Canadian junior champion Suzanne Birt of Charlottetown (area curling fans will remember her as Suzanne Gaudet when she played in the 2006 Tournament of Hearts at the John Labatt Centre);

- Veteran U.S. skips Erica Brown of Madison Wisc., and Patti Lank of Niagara Falls, N.Y.;

- 2009 world junior women's champion Anna Sloan of Stirling, Scotland.

Of course, Homan's major focus right now is on Prince George, where hers will be one of eight women's rinks vying for one of four spots in the Olympic trials, which are at Edmonton's Rexall Place Dec. 6-13. Four men's teans and four women's squads have already qualified for this final stage of determining Canada's Olympic curlers.

"We're not trying to look that far ahead," Homan said of the trials, "because it can get a little overwhelming. We're just trying to focus on getting one of the four spots out of the pre-trials. We've played almost everyone who will be at the pre-trials and we have a pretty good record against them.

"But you have to ignore their accomplishments and treat them as just another team, otherwise you probably won't play as well as you normally would. It'll just be a mater of peaking at the right time because the teams are so even and there's so much talent."

All proceeds from the charity cashspiel, which includes a celebrity clinic Friday at the London Curling Club, go toward breast cancer research at the London Health Sciences Centre. To date, the cashspiel has raised $182,915 for the cause.

Games will be played at Highland Country Club and Ilderton Curling Club starting Friday at 8 a.m. The quarterfinals are Sunday at Ilderton at 7:30 p.m., with the semifinals and final there Monday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. Admission is free, although donations toward the charity would be appreciated.

steve.green@sunmedia.ca

IF YOU GO

13th annual Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel

Where: Highland Country Club and Ilderton Curling Club

When: Friday, 8 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m.; 5 p.m., 9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (quarterfinals at Ilderton); Monday, semifinals at Ilderton, 9 a.m., final at Ilderton, 1 p.m.

Purse: $32,000, with $8,000 for winning rink

Admission: Free, but donations toward breast cancer research and treatment would be appreciated.


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