Betker leads revival

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Saskatchewan's Jan Betker is enjoying a revival of sorts in the foothills of the Rockies.

The last time she skipped in the national women's championship, the loss of her former skip and friend Sandra Schmirler to cancer was still fresh on her mind. And her performance was rocky back in 2003.

"I felt the weight of the whole world on my shoulder with nowhere to run and hide," Betker recalled yesterday. "There was just so much emphasis on us returning without Sandra and it was just very, very difficult to deal with. It was really just a tough, tough week.

"This just feels totally different."

This would be an unbeaten 5-0 record at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts after victories over Ontario and P.E.I. at the Enmax Centre yesterday.

"There's only been five games so I don't know if you want to read into too much of that," Betker cautioned. "But it feels great. Anybody who has had losses would gladly trade places with us right now so we're feeling really good about where we are right now."

And confident.

"To get off to such a great start, you don't feel the pressure of when you lose and you're teetering on whether you're going to make the playoffs or not," said Saskatchewan lead Marcia Gudereit, who helped Betker and Schmirler win Olympic gold and three Canadian crowns. "(But) we know we're going to get a couple of losses in there and that's just the way it's going to be. I don't know when those are going to happen but they will happen, but we're prepared for that. That's not going to be the end of the world. Jan and I have been there, done that and life goes on. This isn't life or death and we know that.

"Now we're going to have a target on our back because we're leading the pack so teams are going to be tough out there and every game is going to be a struggle."

Team Canada's Kelly Scott also kept her unbeaten streak intact at 4-0 with 7-2 triumph over Nova Scotia's winless Jill Mouzar.

"There's really good crowd support out there and it's fun," said Scott, who was playing B.C.'s Kelley Law (3-1) last night. "And we're kind of making our mark in women's curling now."

Meanwhile, Yukon/NWT's Kerry Koe upset Alberta's Cheryl Bernard 7-6 in an extra end, dropping the hometown faves to 1-3 heading into last night's draw.


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