WINNIPEG - Cathy O is pretty much a shoo-in (curl-in?) to earn a trip to the women's provincial championship through the city zone playdowns this weekend.
In fact, Fort Rouge's Cathy Overton-Clapham will likely be named the No. 1 or 2 seed at that Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Altona in late January.
Trouble is, she may not have her full foursome in Altona. Overton-Clapham, you may recall, hastily put together a rather impressive team after she was dumped by Manitoba's reigning Canadian champion Jennifer Jones at the end of last season. That new squad includes Breanne Meakin, who will be defending her Manitoba ju n i o r women's title at the provincial playdowns at the Victoria Curling Club in early January. Should Meakin successfully defend her junior crown, she would be unable to join Overton-Clapham in Altona as the national juniors conflict with that event.
"Don't give me any more stress," Overton-Clapham said Wednesday. "We knew that going in that that was a risk and we'll cross that bridge if and when it happens."
Yet, Overton-Clapham has not even named a fifth as she prepares to skip in the zones for the first time since 2004.
Overton-Clapham has been named the No. 1 seed.
"It's really nice because it's your peers who are selecting the seeds but, at the end of the day, anyone can beat you at any time," she said.
Overton-Clapham, however, will only have to beat one team in her zone as just 13 squads have entered the city zones this weekend.
Overton-Clapham also added Leslie Wilson and Raunora Westcott, the front end who helped Jill Thurston win the Manitoba title last year.
"We just lucked out to get two people who have played together forever and they won last year so they have the fire to want to get back again," Overton-Clapham said.
You can bet that Overton- Clapham has the fire to get back to the nationals where she has lost her spot on the returning champion's team after parting ways with Jones.
"Getting back into skipping, I wasn't sure how that was going to go," she said. "But I am really enjoying it ... We've just clicked on the ice. We have actually only played in three (cashspiels) as a full foursome together and lost a final in a grand slam and made it to a semifi- nal in another. So, we seem to play well together at the right time."
In fact, Overton-Clapham is currently ninth on the women's money list with $21,500 in earnings.
Granite's Thurston is the second seed, followed by former champion Barb Spencer, Holly Scott and Shauna Streich, all of Fort Rouge.
CROWDED CLUB: Those 13 women's teams will be forced to share the West Kildonan Curling Club ice with the juniors for their city regionals. The juniors were scheduled to compete at the Wildewood, but were forced to move after vandals wrecked that facility recently.
Assiniboine Memorial's Rachel Burtnyk -- yes, that's Kerry's kid -- has been named the No. 5 seed for the junior women's city regionals. Pembina's Shannon Birchard is No. 1. Victoria's Brandi Oliver, Pembina's Abby Ackland and Victoria's Beth Peterson round out the top five.
Joel Hildebrand of the Deer Lodge has been deemed the top seed for the junior men's city regionals. Charleswood's Ian Campbell, West Kildonan's Kyle Doering, Deer Lodge's Dan Winters and Pembina's Jamie Sandison round out the top five.
BITERS: Rae Kujanpaa earned $8,000 by winning a World/Manitoba Curling Tour event in Dauphin last weekend ... The MCT's Thistle Integrity Stakes will go this weekend.