Practice is over and now the 16 teams who qualified for the 2018 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts will start throwing rocks that count beginning Wednesday morning at the Shamrock Centre in Killarney.
Former champions Jennifer Jones of St. Vital and Kerri Einarson East St. Paul are the top two seeds followed by last years finalist Darcy Robertson of Assiniboine Memorial, Shannon Birchard of the Thistle and Briane Meilleur of Fort Rouge.
There are also two teams in Killarney who spent the Christmas break trying to win a Provincial Junior Championship in Altona.
Mackenzie Zacharias, Gaetanne Gauthier, Emily Zacharias and Ashley Groff lost out in the semifinals on New Year’s Eve morning.
Now the Altona Curling Club foursome will be competing against Manitoba’s best at the Shamrock Centre.
It's a tough day one as Zacharias begins her 2018 Provincial Scotties against Einarson and Robertson.
“They’re two of the top seeded teams so we’re going to go in there and do our best,” said the Altona skip. "Hopefully we play our best and keep it close. That’s the goal always. We’re very excited to play those two teams. It will be a lot of fun.”
This is the second trip to the Provincial Women’s Curling Championship for Mackenzie Zacharias who earned a trip to the 2016 Scotties in Beausejour.
“I was 16 and it feels like a long time ago,” Zacharias said. “It was a crazy time. It was fantastic and I was so excited to be there and to be here again. To learn from all these older teams and learn where we have to get to one day if we want to be able to compete at this high level. To be here now shows what juniors can do. There’s a couple of junior teams here this year and it’s fantastic to see that.”
That second junior team had a 4 and 3 round robin record in Altona and just missed out on the playoffs.
Rebecca Lamb, Randine Baker, Brooklyn Meiklejohn and Jenessa Rutter of the Stonewall Curling Club are representing the Interlake region at the Scotties.
“We’re excited to be here and get started,” said Lamb. “We want to have a good week, learn and experience everything and give everyone a good game.”
Lamb added that their practice session on Tuesday was important for the team to get a feel of what lies ahead this week at the Shamrock Centre.
“We’re looking to make sure that we’re sharp and throwing it all the same – to try to throw it properly and stay together as a team.”
2018 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts
@ the Shamrock Centre in Killarney
Draw #1 8:30 a.m.
Jennifer Jones, St. Vital 9 Lisa Hale-Menard, Dauphin 2
Alysssa Calvert, Carberry 10 Briane Meilleur, Fort Rouge 5
Shannon Birchard, Thistle 7 Joelle Brown, Charleswood 6
Jennifer Briscoe, Thompson 9 Kristy Watling, Fort Rouge 8 (EE)
Draw #2 12:15 p.m.
Kerri Einarson, East St. Paul 9 Mackenzie Zacharias, Altona 3
Darcy Robertson, Assiniboine Memorial 12 Tiffany McLean, Brandon 6
Barb Spencer, Assiniboine Memorial 8 Cheryl Reed, Brandon 1
Rebecca Lamb, Stonewall 7 Jennifer Clark-Rouire, Miami 6 (EE)
Draw #3 4 p.m.
Brown 9 Jones 5
Meilleur 10 Briscoe 3
Hale-Menard 10 Birchard 4
Watling 8 Calvert 5
Opening Ceremony 7:15 p.m.
Draw #4 8:15 p.m.
Einarson 7 McLean 4
Robertson 8 Zacharias 2
Spencer 9 Lamb 5
Clark-Rouire 8 Reed 6