SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Krista McCarville's rink from the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay, Ont, is heading to the Olympic curling trials in Ottawa after defeating Briane Meilleur's Winnipeg team 7-5 on Saturday night in Summerside, P.E.I.
"I'm so excited. It's in Ottawa at a huge arena to go to the Olympics. It's going to be great to be there," McCarville said after the win.
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This will be the second appearance at the trials for McCarville. Her first attempt to wear the maple leaf for Canada at the Olympics came eight years ago in Edmonton. She lost in the semifinal against Shannon Kleibrink.
In a lot of ways, McCarville's team, made up of third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and lead Sarah Potts, is different from the teams who have already qualified for the trials.
"We don't get to travel like the other teams in the trials," McCarville said. "I have a full-time teaching job and two kids. This is what we like to do but we can't be on the road all the time. I love curling but I also love my family and my job."
How good is that? Brother and sister get Krista McCarville’s autograph after her win to go to the Olympic Trials. For the record, Krista is a full time teacher and has two kids. And is pretty great curler too. #cbccurl pic.twitter.com/hfkE4auYcV— @Devin_Heroux
McCarville says despite not being able to commit to as many bonspiels as they'd like, her team has focused on nutrition and the mental aspects of the game more than ever. And while they might be considered the underdogs going up against the heavy hitters, McCarville has a quiet confidence about her chances.
"Maybe we're not going to be the favourites there but we're going to give it a go and do our best."
There is still one more Olympic trial spot up for grabs on the women's side. On Sunday, Julie Tippin's team squares off against Kelsey Rocque. The winner of that game will meet Meilleur in the final with a chance to join McCarville and others at the trials in Ottawa.
Men's playoff picture
There's still a lot to be settled on the men's side of the draw at the pre-trials. Sunday morning features the A-Side final between John Morris and his team out of Vernon, B.C., against Brendan Bottcher's rink out of the Saville Community Sports Complex in Edmonton.
Morris earned his spot in the final with a commanding victory over Charley Thomas while Bottcher played flawless against Glenn Howard in the other semifinal.
Now Morris and Bottcher square off with the winner going to the trials in Ottawa.
"For me, this doesn't feel new," said Bottcher. "We've been doing this for the better part of four years. We had our breakthrough getting to the Brier last year but we had played in a provincial final and semifinal before that."
He may not be the most well-known curling name in the country yet, but Bottcher and company are trying to make their mark. Third Darren Moulding, second Brad, Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin are poised to make an Olympic run.
"We're gritty," said Bottcher. "We're doing all the right things off the ice. We're not a whole lot of show we just go and try and wins games."
'I love this stuff'
But they'll have to get past savvy and seasoned skip Morris. He won an Olympic gold medal in 2010 with Kevin Martin, who is the father of Karrick. He was one win away last Olympic cycle, having gone through the pre-trials, then into the trials final before losing to Brad Jacobs.
"I love this stuff, to play in games like this. I'm not giving up on this dream until the very last shot is over," Morris said.
The team made a skip swap midweek at the pre-trials and it seems to be paying off. Jim Cotter usually throws the last rocks, but after a 2-2 start, Morris and Cotter went for a beer and talked about changing things up. Morris is now throwing the last stones and they're getting into a winning groove again.
"The great thing about Jimmy, is that it doesn't matter where he plays he just wants to win," said Morris. "We work so well together. He's so great to work with at third. He's making a ton of shots."
The loser of the A-Side final isn't done just yet. Either Morris or Bottcher will drop to the B-Side where they can still get one of the two spots into the trials.
Glenn Howard will play Greg Balsdon's rink in the B-Side semifinal Sunday afternoon. The winner of that game will then meet the loser of the A-Side final for the last spot at the trials in Ottawa.