May 17th, 2024

Scheidegger draws into Olympic Curling Trials

By Dale Woodard on October 2, 2021.

In the early-going of the curling season, the Casey Scheidegger rink has proven to be an efficient quartet.

Competing at the 2021 Trials Direct Entry last weekend in Ottawa, Scheidegger and her Lethbridge Curling Club rink of vice-skip Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore, locked up a spot at the Olympic Curling Trials Nov. 20-26 in Saskatoon courtesy a 6-4 win over Corryn Brown.

It will be the Scheidegger rink’s first trip to the qualifier since 2017.

In keeping with the curling version of no-time-like-the-present, last weekend’s win allows the Scheidegger rink to simply tick the Olympic qualifier off their to-do list and spend the next almost two months preparing for the event.

“We’re really excited,” said Scheidegger. “It’s been a long time for us to be back out on the ice and play in a really competitive atmosphere. Obviously, it’s a little bit different with the absence of fans in the stands. But it was great to be back out there playing in a high-pressure, high stakes situation and we’re thrilled to be going to the Trials.”

Scheidegger was the first of three rinks on the weekend to grab a spot in the Trials in a little over six weeks.

Kelsey Rocque and Alberta’s Laura Walker also earned spots last week in Ottawa.

Kerri Einarson, Rachel Homan, Jennifer Jones and Tracy Fleury have already qualified for Trials, leaving two spots. Those will be up for grabs at the Curling Pre-Trials Oct. 26-31 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

In the clincher on Saturday, Scheidegger played a hit around a corner guard in the 10th end to run Brown out of rocks.

“I’d say we had control for the most part of the game,” said Scheidegger. “We were feeling pretty confident, but you never know what could happen in a curling game. When things are close, crazy things can happen. I had to make my last shot, and we did, just barely, due to my excellent sweepers. But it was very exciting and a little bit of relief as well to be able to qualify this early and not have to play in the pre-trials.”

Considering pre-trials are clear across the country combined with their other obligations, it was a relief for the local rink to take care of business last weekend.

“I think for us it definitely was,” said Scheidegger.

“We have families and things like that and that pre-trials event is very far away. So we were really happy to do that (qualify) and now our schedule seems a lot clearer with what we can do. We can spend time with our families, which is nice, heading into Trials and be in that right frame of mind. It’s a quick turnaround from pre-trials to trials, about three weeks. So that is a lot faster than what we would have liked. So we’re very happy we got that out of the way.”

Scheidegger now looks to stay in game shape and will get a golden chance to do that at the 43rd Autumn Gold Curling Classic next weekend in Calgary, an event offering a who’s who of women’s curling in Canada and most of the teams the locals will face in Saskatoon.

“That one traditionally draws some of the top women’s teams in Canada and all over the world. Due to COVID, I’m not sure which international teams will be there, but Kerri Einarson, Jennifer Jones, Rachel Homan and your big names are generally there. So that is going to offer us some great competition and many of the teams we’ll see at the Trials.

“After that, we’re hoping to get another event the weekend after that. If not, we’ll train to simulate high-pressure situations and high-pressure games. We’ll do as much as we can.”

Prior to last weekend’s Trials Direct Entry, the Scheidegger rink had a couple tune-ups as well.

“We played in two events and in both we had a semifinal finish,” she said. “We had a training weekend, which was also great. So we had been throwing and we had two events we were able to play in for practice.”

Four years after their last Olympic Curling Trials, the Lethbridge Curling Club foursome go back a little bit wiser.

“I think for us, we had a hot start at the 2017 Trials,” said Scheidegger. “We won our first six games and then we played Team Jones and had a bit of a slip-up. We didn’t recover quickly as a team. I think going into this one, every game is important, but you can afford one or two losses. So just being able to bounce back after a loss and recover quickly is something we learned from our first experience.”

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