CALGARY - Corn Flakes will certainly be the choice morning meal for Tanilla Doyle and her curling crew at the Alberta Scotties.
After all, it is ... er ... their breakfast of champions.
"I took a Sharpie and wrote that right on the box," said Doyle's third Lindsay Amundsen, recalling the pre-game boost she got from the cereal on the day they qualified for the provincial women's curling championships.
"I guess we gotta keep eating them."
Eating loads of them would seem logical given the long odds facing Doyle, Amundsen, second Christina Faulkner and lead Janice Bailey in a bid to win the Alberta title.
Because as far as a favourite goes at the provincials, beginning Wednedsay in Camrose -- where the likes of Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard, 2008 Alberta champ Shannon Kleibrink and 1996 world junior queen Heather Nedohin take up the title chase -- the Highwood Curling Club rink is hardly atop the list.
"I don't exist," said Doyle, 26, with a laugh. "Under the radar."
Sounds just like last year, when Vegreville's Valer ie Sweeting came in as an unknown before winning five straight games, including an 8-3 semifinal triumph over veteran Cathy King and a 9-7 final victory over Kleibrink.
"Sweeting came out of nowhere," said Amundsen of last year's surprising provincial winner. "To see somebody can go out and do that is satisfying. It's nice to see that can happen at provincials."
Especially against such prolific squads.
To be sure, Doyle & Co. don't exactly boast championship resumés like many others in the 12-team provincial tournament. While many of their opponents sport Olympic medals and provincial titles, perhaps the biggest claim to fame for the young rink is being three-time defending champion of High River's leg of the Foothills Ladies' Triple Crown.
At least, it's a start.
"It's a huge field (at provincials)," Doyle said. "There's a lot of experience there, and we have a lot to learn. But we're going there to play our best -- just like we did (at southerns). We came into southerns to get experience -- we didn't really have high expectations, but we did really well (and won the C final 9-3 over Calgary's Nicole Blenkin to qualify for the provincials).
"Anybody can beat anyone on any day. And this is exciting for us. Instead of sitting in the stands and watching the provincials, people are going to be watching us."
The field is set for the Boston Pizza Cup to decide this year's Alberta men's champion. The final three qualifiers for the provincials in High River, Feb. 9-13, all hail from Edmonton, and in particular, from the vaunted Saville Centre. Tom Appelman, Randy Ferbey and Glen Kennedy -- the older brother of Kevin Martin's second, Marc -- won respective A, B and C finals at the northern playdowns over the weekend. Calgary rinks for the provincials are Steve Petryk (Calgary Winter), Terry Meek (Calgary Curling) and Brock Virtue (Calgary Curli n g) ... Lowell Peterman (Red Deer), Mickey Pendergast (Inglewood) and Lloyd Hill (Calgary Curling) won respective A, B and C finals at the senior men's southerns hosted by the Acadia Recreation Centre ... Eight of 18 juvenile men's rinks survived the weekend's district playdowns at the Crowsnest Curling Club in Coleman. Those making their way to the 17-and-under southerns, Feb. 12-14 in Brooks, are Michael Roy (Calgary Winter), Carter Lautner (Calgary Winter), Kyler Kleibrink (Okotoks), Josh Bowyer (Medicine Hat), Jeremy Harty (Nanton/High River), Scott Smith (Garrison), Mark Taylor (Calgary Curling) and Dylan Garinger (Coaldale). The three veteran skips and their rinks will represent southern Alberta at the provincials, Feb. 16-20 at the Calgary Curling Club.
The M&M Meat Shops Junior Nationals begin Saturday at the Glencoe and North Hill curling clubs. Alberta is represented in the nine-day event by Nadine Chyz (Calgary Curling) and Colin Hodgson (North Hill/Calgary Curling).
Valerie Sweeting defending champ (Edmonton)
Cheryl Bernard CTRS qualifier (Calgary Curling)
Heather Nedohin CTRS qualifier (Edmonton)
Shannon Kleibrink Alberta Tour qualifier (Calgary Winter) Casey Scheidegger South A rep (Lethbridge)
Heather Rankin South B rep (Calgary Winter)
Tanilla Doyle South C rep (High River)
Renee Sonnenberg Peace A rep (Grande Prairie)
Desiree Owen Peace B rep (Grande Prairie)
Crystal Webster North A rep (Edmonton)
Dana Ferguson North B rep (Edmonton)
Jessie Kaufman North C rep (Edmonton)