Kelowna/Vernon rink qualifies for Olympic trials
John Morris has booked his ticket to Winnipeg.
With a 5-4 win over Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Saturday afternoon in Kitchener, Ont., Morris, Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith, Rick Sawatsky and coach Pat Ryan have secured their spot in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg — the event that will decide Canada’s teams for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
This will be Morris’s third trip to the Canadian Curling Trials, and he knows that means he’ll be going head-to-head with his former skip and 2010 Olympic gold-medal teammate, Kevin Martin — tantalizingly, in the final round-robin draw on Dec. 6 at 8:30 a.m. Winnipeg time.
“Is he in that bonspiel?” joked Morris after his win in Page playoff A-B final at the Capital One Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, presented by Monsanto. “I think every game there is going to be a grind. I’ve been in two Trials. I think it’s even more pressure than the Olympics. I’m sure we’ll have a great match against Kev, we’ll be gunning for each other. That was a tough break at the end of last year, but it had to happen. I’m sure we’re going to have a barn burner, and I look forward to it.”
In a game that saw its share of misses in among the highlight-reel shots, Morris worked the scoreboard to have hammer coming home, and Cotter, who throws final stones, made the cold draw to the eight-foot for the win.
“It feels tremendous,” said Morris after the presentation of Roar of the Rings crests to the team. “I’m real proud of the guys. We had a heck of a week. I don’t think that was either of our best games by any means, but we hung tough, and we grinded one out. All we wanted was to be tied up coming home with the hammer, and Jimmy put one right where we need it, and it was a good team effort.”
Morris praised the play of his team, especially Cotter, who struggled at the beginning of the game.
“He’s our stable force,” Morris said. “He’s our shotmaker. We’ve just got to be sure to give him the shots to make. He’s a true leader on this team too.”