November 23, 2010
Double-title Rankin's hankering
By TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency
Few have ever accomplished the double.
Especially as a skip and when trying to complete the feat in curling-rich Alberta.
But Calgary's Heather Rankin is halfway home in attempting to become a Scotties champion in two different provinces.
In fact, if not for Renee Sonnenberg -- to whom Rankin finished second in the 2001 Alberta final -- the veteran skip might already be a multi-provincial queen.
The 45-year-old captured the Nova Scotia Scotties' title way back in 1990. Then came the bridesmaid finish nearly a decade ago in Alberta's finale.
So her search goes on to score the rare double.
"Winning Alberta and the Scott (Tournament of Hearts) is what we're focusing on this year," said Rankin, who's revamped her rink with the additions of fellow veteran Glenys Bakker and lead Carly Quigley. "It's a totally different approach for us -- usually we've gone hard at the beginning of the season in the cashspiels. But this season, we've taken some time off here early and we're looking to ramp it up in December and January.
"The Scott Tournament of Hearts is in P.E.I. this year, so that would be amazing to be there," said Rankin, a Halifax native. "A Maritimer going back to the Maritimes to play for the national championship? I don't know what could be better."
Well, winning the whole darn shootin' match would top it all.
And with Bakker now by her side, Rankin might have as good a chance as she did nine years ago.
"I've never met anyone with such good curling sense," said Rankin of Bakker, who has Scott experience herself while with Shannon Kleibrink in 2004. "With us two on the back end, we're like the mothers to the front-end young kids. Maybe the two junior stars can learn from us old dogs."
Dean Ross and Colin Hodgson made up a double threat from Calgary in Monday's playoff round of the WCT's $50,000 Wainwright Roaming Buffalo Classic. But neither rink advanced past the quarterfinals -- Ross lost to Edmonton's Wade White 7-3, while Hodgson dropped his draw 3-2 to Edmonton's Brendan Bottcher. Both squads advanced from C-side qualifiers Sunday -- Ross with a 4-3 edge of Edmonton's Ted Appelman after scoring two in the final end, and Hodgson with a 7-4 win in an all-Calgary battle with Brent Bawel. Steve Petryk, also from Calgary, lost 6-4 to Edmonton's Jamie Fletcher in another C-event qualifier. Edmonton's Rob Schlender won the event, beating Fletcher 7-4 Monday ... Edmonton's Kevin Koe won the $42,000 Skookum WCT Cash Spiel in Whitehorse, Yukon. Calgary's Adrian Bakker was 2-3 in the WCT event.
The women take in the $32,000 WCT's Boundary Ford Curling Classic in Lloydminster, where rinks include Calgarians Rankin, Crystal Webster, Shana Shell, Nicole Blenkin and Maria Bushell vying for the $8,000 top prize. Kleibrink shoots for the title at the $34,000 Kamloops Crown of Curling.