Kelowna's Kelly Scott wil pursue the B.C. women's curling title next week in Coquitlam.

Scott shoots for seventh B.C. title

Kelowna rink among favourites for 2016 Scotties next week in Coquitlam

Coming up short at provincials in each of the last two years simply confirmed what Kelly Scott already knew.

The competitive fire still burns bright for the Kelowna skip who will be pursuing her seventh B.C. women’s curling championship next week in Coquitlam.

“I still love being out there,” said Scott. “It’s been such a big part of my life, I really do still enjoy it.

“Those close calls (the last two years) puts it all in perspective, that nothing is ever a given. Any time you enter a provincials, it’s a test. Hopefully we can rise to the challenge and bring our best.”

Scott, third Shannon Aleksic, second Jenna Loder and lead Sarah Pyke will be among eight rinks contending for the 2016 Scotties title, with the opening draw set for Tuesday at the Coquitlam Curling Club.

In 2014, Scott reached the B.C. final before losing to Nanaimo’s Kesa Van Osch. Last January, the Kelowna foursome was ousted in the semi-finals by Sarah Wark. Both rinks, as well as defending champ Patti Knezevic of Prince George, will be in the field next week.

“Every team there is good, a lot of them have been working hard at their games, maybe more than we’ve seen in the past,” said Scott. “Teams will be prepared and we’re going to have to play well. We have to go with an open mind and focus on our game.”

The Scott rink has undergone its share of changes over the years, including the retirements of long-time teammates Jeanna Schraeder and Sasha Carter in the spring of 2014.

Aleksic, who is in her second season with team, lives in Abbotsford, while Loder, in her first season, commutes from Winnipeg. Scott and Pyke are both based in Kelowna.

The latest configuration has worked relatively well this season, as the Scott rink qualified in two of four World Curling Tour events.

In their last cash event in Saskatoon, the Colonial Square Classic in November, the Kelowna team reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Krista McCarville.

“We ended on a high note in Saskatoon,” said Scott. “We had a nice break over Christmas and now we’re preparing for this the best we can. I’m excited to go with this team and hopefully we can find a way to win.”

Scott, who has two Canadian titles and a world women’s title on her resume, takes more experience to the provincials than any of the seven other skips.

“It’s nothing that will give you a point on the scoreboard, but it’s provided me with a lot of tools,” Scott said. “I’ve been there before, I know what to expect, hopefully that experience will help us with the challenges we’ll face.”

Unlike past years, the B.C. champ won’t have an automatic berth into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts next month in Grande Prairie, AB.

Under new Curling Canada rules, the last-place team from the previous year—which happened to be B.C. in 2015—must play in a relegation round against the two other lowest-ranked regions, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, for one berth to nationals.

The final game of the B.C. Scotties on Sunday, Jan. 24 will air at 4 p.m. on Sportsnet One.