Red Deer’s More curls way to the top

Just one year removed from the junior curling ranks, Whitney More of Red Deer is a provincial champion at the women’s level.

Whitney More

Whitney More

Just one year removed from the junior curling ranks, Whitney More of Red Deer is a provincial champion at the women’s level.

The 21-year-old Red Deer College student tosses second stones for Valerie Sweeting’s foursome which upset Shannon Kleibrink 9-7 in an extra end in the final of the Alberta Scotties championship Sunday at the Calgary Curling Club.

More hooked up with the dynamic crew— consisting also of 22-year-old Sweeting of Vegreville, third Megan Einarson, 23, of Edmonton, and 21-year-old lead Lindsay Makichuk of Lloydminster — at the beginning of the current season and last month helped the team qualify for the women’s provincials by winning the A-event final of the Northern Alberta playdowns.

More admitted the foursome, which has also won $3,000 on the World Curling Tour, didn’t head to Calgary with a championship in mind.

“We were pretty excited going in. We kind of thought that a good goal for us was to make the playoffs,” she said. “And then once we did make the playoffs it was like ‘now there’s no reason why we can’t win it all’.”

The Sweeting squad won four of six games to qualify out of the C-event, as did Calgary skip Leslie Rogers. Sweeting then defeated Rogers 9-7 in a quarter-final Saturday night.

“Before the game (quarter-final), none of us could get nervous,” More laughed.

“I was almost getting mad at myself because I couldn’t get nervous, I couldn’t get all excited. We all felt pretty calm and our thing was ‘just take it one shot at a time for eight rocks every end’.”

The eventual champs dumped Cathy King of Edmonton 8-3 in a Sunday semifinal, setting up a showdown with Kleibrink, a former Olympian and provincial champion, later in the day.

“It was unreal. I actually said to Val before we went into the last game, ‘Val I’ve never lost to Shannon before’,” said More. “I had played her in the Red Deer cashspiel two seasons ago with Kalynn Park’s junior team and beat her there. I said ‘Val we have to beat her this time, I don’t want to lose to her’.”

Sweeting obliged, making her final stone in the 11th end to earn the young rink a trip to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Jan. 30-Feb. 7 in Sault Ste. Marie.

“It was pretty exciting for us. But we won the game and no one really knew what to do,” said More, who started curling in the Red Deer Curling Club’s little rock program when she was seven years of age.

Sweeting and her supporting cast will be part of a solid Scotties field, with the likes of Kelly Scott (B.C.), Krista McCarville (Ontario), Amber Holland (Saskatchewan) and Jennifer Jones (Team Canada) confirmed for the Canadian championship.

“It’s definitely going to be a good field,” said More.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com