Kirk continues to battle

TODD SAELHOF, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

If blood and guts count for anything, then consider that the next Alberta curling queen might well hail from Lethbridge.

While they aren't among the so-called toughest tests in the 12-team, triple-knockout event, Megan Kirk and her running mates from the Windy City seem to have a lock on what it takes to tough out the battles of the 2010 Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts, running through Sunday at the Calgary Curling Club.

Blood? Check.

Kirk opened the Scotties yesterday with a gusher from the nose -- a first-end bleeder in a 10-5 win over Edmonton's Delia DeJong. She had another nosebleed before last night's draw -- results of Cowtown's dry air, although the young skip and her team joked it was the product of a fight.

Guts? Double check.

In reaching the provincial championship, the 23-year-old skip, third Jodi Marthaller, second Nicole Bawel and lead Lace Dupont clawed their way through the Coaldale-hosted southern playdowns last month, playing in every draw and in all three finals before qualifying for the Scotties with a 7-1 win in the 'C' finale.

"That was really great for us -- it was the first time our team has come out of a 'C' event," Kirk said. "We really had to ban together and keep our communication strong because we played every draw for three days.

"So we know we can come out of 'C' if we need to. We'd rather be floating around near the top, but if it comes down to it, at least we know we can battle back."

They'll need to find some fight after the first day.

The Lethbridge Curling Club crew was thumped in the evening draw 11-3 by Calgary's Crystal Webster, relegating Kirk & Co. to the 'B' side in their push to make Saturday's Page-format playoffs.

"We're here definitely to be in the playoffs and be playing Sunday (in the championship draw)," said Kirk, whose off-ice career has brought her to work full-time in Calgary. "To wear the Alberta colours (at nationals), you know you're a great curler, because to get out of this province is really tough."

Call the loss another learning experience for the fresh foursome coached by Southern Alberta Curling Association GM Brent Syme, especially with big-name squads such as Webster, Cathy King, Heather Nedohin and favourite Shannon Kleibrink gunning for the crown.

Last night's second draw also saw Kleibrink edge fellow Calgarian Leslie Rogers 6-5, Edmonton's King beat Grande Prairie's Renee Sonnenberg 4-2 and Edmonton's Nedohin top the Peace District's Jodi Busche 6-3. The first draw also saw Rogers defeat Edmonton's Valerie Sweeting 12-3, Sonnenberg beat Edmonton's Brenda Doroshuk 7-4 and Busche thump Edmonton's Tiffany Odegard 11-3.

The provincials continue today with draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and continue through Sunday's championship game at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Jan. 30-Feb. 7 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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