OTTAWA - It’s crunch time for Rachel Homan.
The Ottawa skip’s Sunday win at the Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic in Kemptville added to the rink’s important Canada Team Ranking System points total — the system used to determine automatic entries for the 2013 Canadian Olympic curling trials next December in Winnipeg.
Homan is fifth in team rankings but only a few points separate the top contenders.
“We have two big weekends coming up,” explained Homan. “ We need to get the practice in and we need the points ... It pretty much comes down to Saskatoon and Brantford.”
Homan’s record in events where all the best teams compete is impressive — two second-place finishes, one against provincial rival Sherry Middaugh (ranked second) and one against Stefanie Lawton (ranked third).
“It was a good experience playing that many games,” Homan said. “Obviously we would have liked to win, but we played well.”
Homan’s two first-place finishes were against fields without the depth exhibited at the out-of-town tournaments. The next two events (The Colonial Square Ladies Curling Classic, Thursday through Monday in Saskatoon and Brantford’s Masters of Curling Nov. 15-19) feature strong rosters and big points.
The skip said the team’s journey has taken years.
“Last year we did a lot of technical stuff and put in a lot of hard work. We were on the ice a lot and now it’s starting to pay off,” Homan said.
The squad seems to be a shoo-in for the Pre-Trials tournament next November in Kitchener — an event Homan also competed in during the last Olympic cycle.
Homan went undefeated in Kemptville to become the first back-to-back winner of the event. Homan defeated New York’s Patti Lank in the quarter-finals, then beat a stubborn Julie Hastings rink in a semi. Homan beat Allison Nimik 6-1 in the final.
The other semi-finalist was Amy Wright of Minnesota. Other qualifiers were Russia’s Victoria Moiseeva, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Eve Belisle.
Out-of-town rinks ruled the JSI OVCA Junior Superspiel. Manitoba’s Selena Kaatz defeated Ontario’s Kendall Haymes 6-4. On the men’s side, Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson beat New Brunswick’s Josh Barry 5-4. Both winners took home $3,000 and the runners-up left with $1,600. The Cory Christensen rink from Duluth, Minn., exemplified courage by competing. Last May. third Elizabeth Busche died at 19 from ovarian cancer. Previously that year, the squad represented the U.S. at the world juniors, where Busche was in great pain but never told anyone. She shot the best of the squad. At the Superspiel, the back of the team’s jackets had a heart followed by the initials EB.
Skip Glenn Howard, whose rink includes Ottawa’s Craig Savill, won Whitby’s Mount Lawn Gord Carroll Classic. Howard defeated Bryan Cochrane’s team (minus Cochrane) in the semis ... The winners of Navan’s JT Bradley spiel were Colin Dow, Brett Lyon-Hatcher, RJ Johnson and John Steski.
Fans can choose the players for the Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game presented by Piny on TSN Jan. 19-20. There is a list of players by position listed at tsn.ca/curlingskins. Voting is open until Dec. 10. The 16 players with the most votes in each position will qualify. The four all-star teams will be chosen by random draw on TSN Jan. 17,
A new Getting Started league is starting at the RCMP beginning Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. For info, e-mail email@example.com.