While so many Manitobans were celebrating the miraculous victory by Jennifer Jones in last year's Canadian curling championship, Kristy Jenion admits to having mixed feelings at the time.
Jenion, you see, is the 26-year-old St. Vital skip who just happened to lose a nail-biter to Jones in the 2005 provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts final in Souris.
Having come so close, it was a bit hard for Jenion to watch Jones go on to glory at the national Scott in St. John's, N.L., and later compete in both the world championship in Scotland and the Olympic trials in Halifax.
"It wasn't hard seeing them win because we knew they were a good team, but it was kind of a double-edged sword I guess," Jenion said yesterday at the Granite Curling Club, where her team is competing in the Manitoba Curling Association women's bonspiel. "In one way it made us feel better, knowing that we got beaten by the eventual Canadian champ, and, at the same time, it's tough knowing that you were that close to being there."
Jenion and teammates Lisa Roy, Leslie Wilson and Raunora Westcott, will head to Thompson Jan. 25-29 to take another crack at the provincial championship. Jones, of course, won't be there, as she already has the defending champion's spot in the national Scott in London, Ont.
That means Jenion will be one of the Manitoba favourites, along with the likes of former champions Lois Fowler, Janet Harvey, Barb Spencer and Karen Porritt.
"We played well enough to win in Souris, so we were definitely disappointed," said Roy, a Thompson native who is looking forward to playing the Scott on home turf.
"We walked off the ice planning this year's season."
So far the season has been a bit of a struggle, but the Jenion foursome is looking good this weekend. They beat Kim Thomas-Ritchot of Brandon 6-3 in one of four A-side qualifiers yesterday and will take part in today's championship round.
"We just wanted to get some games in after Christmas and play well," said Roy. "We haven't had the greatest season, so we need this just to get some confidence going into Thompson."
In other A-side qualifiers, the American Olympic team, skipped by Cassie Johnson of Bemidji, Minn., beat Valour Road's Tracy Andries 10-2, Marlene Lang of St. Vital beat clubmate Jennifer Clark-Rouire 10-7, and Joyce McDougall of Souris beat Shana Rogers of Selkirk 8-7.
The B- and C-side qualifying games were ongoing at press time last night.
"There are a lot of teams that are very hot right now," said Jenion, when asked if she considers herself one of the favourites for the Scott.
"We're on a pretty good roll in this event, and usually a team that does well here goes into provincials really hot, so that's what we're hoping ... that it can carry over."