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Local curlers look to provincials after Meridian Canadian Open wins

Three of the eight champions at the Grand Slam of Curling Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Saskatchewan last week were from right here in the Peace country. Beaverlodge’s Geoff Walker repeated his 2014 title win with team Brad Gushue, while his sister Stephanie Enright and Grande Prairie’s Cary-Anne McTaggart won on the women’s side with team Casey Scheidegger and her sister

The event was the rink’s first ever grand slam. McTaggart throws lead stones and says she had a feeling they could win it all after beating Rachel Homan.

“We believed before we went that we belonged there with all those other teams, but… we did play really well against [Homan]; that was kind of the big eye opener because we haven’t beat her before so that was really nice to beat her and kind of pump our tires a little bit.”

The crew also upset Jennifer Jones and Val Sweeting to make it to the finals against Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni. The Scheidegger sisters have played with McTaggart since 2014 and Enright joined the next year as lead. She feels they’re confident going into provincials at the end of the month.

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“Chelsea Carey’s team’s not there this year because they’re Team Canada, so that’s one less great team that’s in Alberta in a field of very good teams,” says Enright. “I think as long as we play good and keep playing like we have then I think we’ll definitely have a chance at it.”

Enright’s brother has the same feeling heading into the men’s provincials next month. Team Brad Gushue is off to a perfect start in the new year, after a hip and groin injury sidelined their skip for eight months. Gushue threw a perfect game in his second tournament of the season, but Walker says they weren’t sure what to expect when he first returned.

“Obviously he knows he wasn’t his sharpest and we didn’t expect much more, but for him to come back in the new year here, it was night and day between early December and this last event, so he stepped right in to where we left off at the end of last year.”

The Gushue rink also won the Meridian Canadian Open in 2014, and this most recent victory make seven grand slams for the team. This year should be a big one for the men, as this year’s Brier will be held in their hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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