Rachel Homan eyes world domination
3-time Canadian champ shifts focus to elusive world title, Olympics
It was both heart-stopping and historic.
Rachel Homan's 8-6 extra-end win in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final Sunday night in St. Catharines, Ont., made her the youngest skip to capture three Canadian curling titles.
The 27-year-old said the thrilling victory over Manitoba's Michelle Englot represented the toughest challenge yet for her young team.
"That's the hardest win we've ever fought for, especially with all the pressure and everything on the line," said Homan, whose Ottawa rink was favoured to win the event in its home province.
Homan had to make an extraordinary double takeout in the 10th end just to keep her rink's championship hopes alive. She delivered.
"The Canadian title was on the line of a 16th of a rock," she said.
"I had to make it. Do-or-die. And we survived."
Now Homan — along with third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle — gets to put on the red and white and represent Canada for the third time at the women's world championship, which runs March 18-26 in Beijing.
Homan is still seeking her first world title. In two previous appearances at worlds, she captured a silver and a bronze.
Homan's team will lean on its experience when it competes far away from home in China.
"It's a different crowd. It's a different venue. Different ice. So our experience will help us perform our best when we get there," said Homan.
The Homan rink is leaving earlier than normal this year in hopes of better adjusting to the time change and performing their best in Beijing.
"Being away from family and friends is tough," the skip said. "It's a long week. Lots of things are going to be different."
All of these games and all of these experiences are leading to one thing the team wants more than anything — the chance to represent Canada at the Olympics for the first time.
"It's exciting to get another final under our belt," said Homan. "It's really important to see how you react and see how you play in these types of situations."
The Canadian Olympic curling trials take place in the Homan rink's hometown of Ottawa this coming December. Eight men's and eights women's teams will battle to decide who will represent Canada next February in South Korea.
At the last Olympic qualifiers, in late 2013 in Winnipeg, an even younger Homan rink placed third. A lot has changed since then.
Homan and her teammates have played less this year to ensure they're peaking at the right time. They're scaling back their work and social lives and making sacrifices for this Olympic push. They're all in.
A pressure-packed Scotties win is just another experience this team can lean on as it eyes the Olympics and, more immediately, the world championships.
"We won, but we learned from it and we're going to represent Canada as best we can," said Homan.
"I can't wait to put a maple leaf on."