John Morris, Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky will take another run at Olympic berth. -Image credit: Anil Mungal

Okanagan rink secures spot in pre-trials

Morris-Cotter foursome will be in Summerside, PEI in November for first Olympic qualifying step

With a trip to Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 as their ultimate goal, the John Morris-Jim Cotter will head to Summerside, PEI this November for Curling Canada’s Road to the Roar pre-trials.

The Okanagan-based rink, which also features Kelowna’s Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky, received an invitation to be one of 12 teams to compete in the Olympic pre-trials.

The top two rinks in Summerside will join seven other men’s teams which have already qualified for final Road to the Roar trials Dec. 2 to 10 in Ottawa.

The Morris-Cotter foursome qualified for pre-trials by virtue of points earned over the last three seasons on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS).

The Okanagan rink came within one win of earning a berth at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

After making it through the pre-trials in 2013, the Morris-Cotter team reached the championship game of the final trials in Winnipeg, before losing to Sault Ste. Marie’s Brad Jacobs.

The Vernon-Kelowna team is coming off a solid season, having won the B.C. men’s title for the sixth time and piling up more than $90,000 on the World Curling Tour.

But with a busy and demanding 2016-17 campaign also taking its toll, the Morris-Cotter foursome will be going with a five-man rotation next season.

“We’re all banged up,” Jim Cotter said at the end of this season. “We’re going to go with a five-man team all next year which is an Olympic year. There’s too much on the line.

“Ty was playing with a bad rib injury and Swat is out with groin and knee problems. Swat will come in at lead a lot next year, but anyone one of us could go down.”