TRIALS OFFER UP MORE THAN BRIER
By Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun
The Olympic trials had some moments one doesn't see at a national competition.
There were tears, for example, and plenty of them.
The bitter disappointment felt by John Morris, who had to compose himself before returning to a press scrum after his semi-final loss.
Kevin Martin lead Don Bartlett also broke down while confessing that his marriage broke up in part because of his trials preparation.
And the sudden torrent of waterworks by Brad Gushue when he embraced his ill mother after his win.
This wasn't the Brier.
Provincial rivalries were almost absent as the spectators knew every draw would showcase skilled shot making.
In fact, when Gushue played Randy Ferbey in the round-robin and some ill-mannered spectators cheered for missed Ferbey shots, Jeff Stoughton berated the crowd.
This wasn't the Brier.
And, despite the usual staged autograph signings with most of the teams bringing pre-printed post cards, crying towels and Team Stoughton coasters (or jar openers -- the debate still rages), the players kept a low profile in the Patch.
This wasn't the Brier, either.
Drug testing doesn't get much profile at a national championship. One wins an Olympic spot then has to pee into a bottle.
We know that Team Gushue front-ender Jamie Korab emerged first with his skip coming out last. We also know that Shannon Kleibrink lead Christine Keshen admitted that she "peed all over my hands."
No, it certainly wasn't the Scott.
The Halifax Brier drew a large number of local curling fans, but the trials' Ottawa crowd easily surpassed it.
There seemed to be curlers from every club in the capital region with the Zone 1 crowd holding court at two very long tables in the Patch. According to Navan's Doug Titus, Zone 1 beat Zone 3.
Nope, this certainly wasn't the Brier.
SAVILL ROW: Ottawa's Craig Savill wants to take a bit of time to recover from Halifax. "I'm glad we're not playing in zones." The Glenn Howard team is playing in the January Slam event that conflicts with the regionals in any case. "The Ontario Curling Association did a great job in accommodating us, but there should be a better way to qualify for the provincials." He wishes there were some exemptions to the provincials like other jurisdictions have. It's an idea whose time has come, OCA.
OCA ZONES: Teams advancing to regional competition for the Kia Cup and the Scott Tournament of Hearts are: Zone 1A - Charles Wert and Pascale Letendre, B - Bryan Cochrane and Diana Favel; Zone 2A - Mark McDonald and Anne Merklinger, B - Greg Richardson and Leslie Cafferty; Zone 3A - Jeff McCrady and Deb Karbashewski, B - Willie Jeffries and Ling-Yue Hung. Jenn Hanna also advances out of Zone 4 where she was a fill team. In Zone 5, Ottawa's Robyn Mattie took the A-side, while other notable names advancing from other zones are Sherry Middaugh, Jo-Anne Rizzo and Janet McGhee. Wayne Middaugh did not enter the zones, but may be going to the challenge round. In Gore School zones, Zone 1A Boys -- North Dundas District High (Chesterville), B -- Carleton Place H.S., Girls 1A -- St. Mary's Catholic H.S. (Brockville), B -- Notre Dame Catholic H.S. (Carleton Place); Zone 2A Boys -- St. Mark's H.S. , B -- Osgoode Township H.S.; Girls A side -- Sir Robert Borden H.S., B -- Brookfield H.S.
ABLE SEAMEN: In the Navy senior men's invitational, Rob Warren took the top prize, while other winners were John Braden, Brian Graham and Jim Arnot.