Veteran skip earns early berth

Seventeen-year-old St. Vital's Shannon Birchard will skip a squad in the junior women's provincials...

Seventeen-year-old St. Vital's Shannon Birchard will skip a squad in the junior women's provincials for the sixth straight season after beating Assiniboine-Memorial's Katie Spencer 7-3 at the junior women's berth bonspiel in Stonewall on October 23, 2011. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency Files)

Jim Bender, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 AM ET

St. Vital’s Shannon Birchard is well on her way to a record run.

She will skip a squad in the junior women’s provincials for the sixth straight season. And she’s only 17.

Birchard beat Assiniboine Memorial’s Katie Spencer 7-3 at a junior women’s berth bonspiel in Stonewall to become one of the first two teams to qualify for the 2012 Canola Junior Women’s Provincial Championship in Minnedosa, Jan. 5-9.

“It feels really good,” said Birchard, who qualified through the Junior Christmas Bonspiel last year.

“It’s really nice to get the spot so early.”

Birchard is skipping a new team that includes third Selena Kaatz and second Kristin MacCuish, who lost last year’s final to St. Vital’s Breanne Meakin while playing for Ste. Anne’s Alyssa Vandepoele. Lead Mariah Mondor played second for Meakin when she won the 2010 Manitoba title.

Victoria’s Kristy Watling defeated clubmate Beth Peterson 8-2 to win the other spot up for grabs at the Stonewall spiel.

ANOTHER BIRCHARD BACK: On the junior men’s side, Pembina’s Daniel Birchard — Shannon’s brother — beat Assiniboine Memorial’s Derek Blanchard 7-6 in an extra end.

Birchard, who lost last year’s final, won one of the first two berths available for the the 2012 Canola Junior Men’s Provincial Championship at the West Kildonan Curling Club, Jan. 5-9.

West Kildonan’s Kyle Doering — Manitoba’s rep at the 2011 Canada Winter Games — earned the other trip. Doering downed Joey Witherspoon of Fort Rouge 9-8 also in an extra end.

WOMEN’S SLAM: Both Manitoba’s former world champion Jennifer Jones and Darcy Robertson qualified for Monday’s playoffs at the Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Classic at the Fort Rouge Curling Club. They are guaranteed at least $3,700 each … Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton defeated Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham’s 9-5 in a B-side qualifier Sunday. B.C.’s transplanted Manitoban Kelly Scott also qualified through B … Overton-Clapham was playing fellow Manitoban Chelsea Carey, the defending champ, in a C qualifier on the late draw Sunday night.

The final will be played Monday at 5 p.m.

STOUGHTON IN PLAYOFFS: Manitoba’s reigning world champion Jeff Stoughton qualified for the playoffs at the Canad Inns Prairie Classic in Portage la Prairie through the A event. His foursome is guaranteed at least $4,000 … Also qualifying were Alberta’s Brock Virtue, Saskatchewan’s Steven Laycock and Ontario’s Glenn Howard … Mike McEwen, the defending champ who lost a B qualifier to Laycock, was among four Manitoba teams attempting to qualify on the late draw.

The final will be played Monday at 6 p.m., and will be televised by Shaw.

STOUGHTY TO VISIT SWAGGERVILLE: Spies tell us that Stoughton’s team will handle the ceremonial coin toss at this Friday’s CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts — the last to be held at Canad Inns Stadium.


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