Kelowna's Scott on Olympic trail
Kelly Scott and her Kelowna rink haven't been getting the desired results on the ice early in the 2013-14 curling season.
Still, none of it will matter if the local foursome can get into a zone next week in Kitchener.
Scott, third Jeanna Schaeder, second Sasha Carter and lead Sarah Wazney are one of 12 rinks who will be in the Ontario city Nov. 5 to 10 for the Canadian Olympic pre-trials.
The top two rinks from the event will advance to join six other teams for the final Olympic trials tournament, Dec. 1 to 8 in Winnipeg. The champion will represent Canada in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
Scott's team has played in three World Curling Tour events this fall, qualifying in one and posting a 9-9 record overall.
While the Scott rink hasn't yet displayed the quality of curling that led it to a bronze medal at last season's Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the 36-year-old skip knows her rink is capable of finding its game at any moment.
"We know we have the depth and foundation, the experience under our belts for these kinds of events, we feel we're a team that can roll with the punches," said Scott, the 2006 and 2007 Canadian women's champion. "We've never been a team that's been quick out of the gates, things seem to take a while before we start clicking. That hasn't happened yet, so now would be a great time to put it all together. We're excited to see what we can do."
Scott has been down the Olympic road before, losing a heartbreaking final at the trials in 2005, then competing again in 2009 when she went 1-6.
The 2013 field will also feature former Olympians Shannon Kleibrink and Cheryl Bernard, ex-Canadian champ Amber Holland, along with the likes of with Renee Sonnenberg, Crystal Webster and Val Sweeting, all rinks with the potential to lock up a berth to Winnipeg.
"This field is very good, it's hard to pick out two teams," said Scott. "That's what the World Curling Tour has done, it's shown that any given weekend any team can do well if they get on a roll. You just have to go and hope to play your best and see what shakes out."
Scott will open play at the pre-trials on Tuesday, Nov. 2 against Mississauga's Cathy Auld.
The John Morris rink, featuring Vernon's Jim Cotter, along with Ty Griffith and Rick Sawatsky from Kelowna, will be among the 12 rinks in the draw of the men's Olympic pre-trials which also begin on Tuesday in Kitchener.
Morris, a former Olympic champion with Kevin Martin, joined the Okanagan-based rink this fall.
While Morris calls the game, Cotter throws fourth rocks, just as he did in the past with the Pat Ryan and Bob Ursel rinks.
"I prefer it actually," Cotter said of throwing last rocks, while leaving the skipping duties to someone else. "I can concentrate more on making the shots and less on the stress of having to make those final decisions.
Included in the field are former Canadian champ Brad Gushue, 2006 Olympic champ Brad Gushue and Manitoba's Rob Fowler. Two of the 12 rinks will move on to the final eight-team Olympic trials Dec. 1 to 8 in Winnipeg.
"It's an extremely good field," Cotter said. "Obviously, you're going to need some breaks and make some big shots in a field like that. You also have to have fun with it, just try and treat it like another curling event.""
Since joining forces, the Morris rink has played in four World Curling Tour events, qualifying in three of them.
This weekend, Morris, Cotter, Griffith and Sawatsky will convene in Calgary for a 2 1/2 day training camp.
The Calgary/Vernon/Kelowna team will open play at the pre-trials on Tuesday night against the winner of Steven Laycock and Rob Rumfeldt.